Tees-based Thirteen hosted Housing Secretary James Brokenshire and Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen on a visit to its new West End Gardens development in Stockton.
Mr Brokenshire, who has been Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government since April, was invited by mayor Houchen to visit some of the housing projects underway in the region.
He is keen to build up strong ties within the region as part of his ongoing focus on strengthening communities through affordable housing.
West End Gardens, which is currently in its second phase, offers affordable housing, with priority given to those who live or work in Stockton orwhohave a connection to the area.
Thirteen is working alongside Stockton Council on the development, supported with funding from Homes England.
Ian Wardle, chief executive at Thirteen, hosted Mr Brokenshire and Mayor Houchen on a tour of the first phase of the housing development, which was completed last year, and on a visit to the next phase comprising of 52 new two and three-bedroom homes that are currently underway, off Dovecot Street.
The modern family homes are expected to be completed in summer next year.
Mr Brokenshire said: “It’s great to visit a site like this. Housing associations like Thirteen are being innovative and its precisely the sort of thing we’re looking for.
“We’re seeing affordable housing, including shared equity and homes for sale being developed in Tees Valley.
Ian Wardle, chief executive at Thirteen, said: “We were pleased to host the minister and the Mayor to this exciting development of affordable homes in Stockton.
“The investment from the Government was paramount in both phases of the development, ensuring we have enough affordable housing within Tees Valley. It demonstrates a commitment to support the people working in our town centres and our industries by giving them access to good quality homes.”
Mayor Houchen added: “We need to rejuvenate our high streets and get more people into our town centres, and to do this it is necessary to revitalise the housing stock by providing good quality, affordable housing.
“Organisations like Thirteen are a great example of a social housing provider that is working to revitalise places like Stockton, Middlesbrough, and the rest of Tees Valley.”
• Pictured above (left to right): Tees mayor Ben Houchen, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire and Thirteen chief executive Ian Wardle.