THE first new council homes to be built in Portsmouth in more than a decade have been opened.
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Cheryl Buggy opened seven houses in Warwick Crescent, Somers Town where she was joined by Pompey players Ricardo Rocha, Joel Ward and Jason Pearce.
Cllr Buggy said: ‘I’m delighted to be here. The people of this city need quality family housing and I’m happy to be able to join the celebration of the first of them opening.’
Mr Ward said: ‘It’s important to give people opportunities. It’s great the council are building places that will give people a better home.’
Mr Pearce added: ‘It’s tremendous to see the community being helped like this and lives changed for the better.’
The event saw the four four-bedroomed and three three-bedroomed homes officially named Henrietta Place, and attracted around 50 people.
Among those most interested were Ako Ahmad and Shireen Hussein, who will move into one of the three-bedroom properties with their children Lania and Aro Ahmad. The family of four lives in a one-bedroom council flat in Handsworth House, Quinton Close, Somers Town.
They have lived there three years, but as Lania is now two and a half, and Aro nine months old, they were delighted to be able to move.
Mr Ahmad said: ‘The homes are perfect. It will be wonderful for us. At the moment we all sleep in the same room, and the house means we’ll have space to live in comfort. We’re very pleased to have a garden, as Lania and Aro will be able to run around.’
The families, including Mr Ahmad and Mrs Hussein, are scheduled to move in on October 14.
Portsmouth City Council’s leader for housing, Cllr Steven Wylie, said: ‘This is what the people of the city need, and it’s the first step towards a series of new family homes, where they’re needed.’