THE first families have moved into brand new council homes in Somerstown.
Portsmouth City Council built the 10 three-bedroom houses and 12 two-bedroom flats, in Wellington Street, as part of the Somerstown regeneration project.
Now 22 families have unpacked their boxes, put their clothes away, and can call them home.
‘Handing over these properties to the people who need them is what this project is all about,’ project manager Kevin Hudson said.
‘We are very proud to be able to say that these are high-quality family homes, built to the latest environmental and energy-efficient standards, which will be enjoyed by our tenants for many years to come.’
The new tenants say they are very pleased with their new homes.
Josie Reeve, who lives in a two-bedroom flat in Ark Royal Close with her husband and their 17-year-old daughter, said: ‘It’s absolutely wonderful. I used to live in a maisonette and now we’re all on one floor.
‘It’s not larger than where I used to be, but the view is fantastic. It’s a better quality.
‘There are some teething problems, like my buzzer doesn’t work, but I’d like to thank the council. It’s great.’
Her neighbour, Alison Haygar, moved into a three-bedroom town house in Invincible Terrace.
She said her home is so eco-friendly it’s saving her money on her bills already.
She added: ‘In my old maisonette in Somers Town I would sometimes put £50 on the electric meter just in one week.
‘And they haven’t spared any of the money on them, they’re all really good quality.’
The Wellington Street development also includes three retail units.
It has been given £1.2m from the Homes and Communities Agency, as part of a £2.5m investment in new council homes across the city.
Other work in the regeneration of the area included seven new homes in Henrietta Place, and work has started on a community centre which will span Winston Churchill Avenue’s dual carriageway.
The iconic building will include community, youth, and health centres and an area housing office, and is due for completion in spring 2014.
Philip Littlewood, HCA area manager, said: ‘I am sure this excellent new scheme will be welcomed by the local community.’