FAMILIES have managed to climb onto the property ladder thanks to the completion of a £1.2m transformation of part of a Blackpool housing estate.
Rundown flats on Forshaw Avenue and Gateside Drive on Grange Park have been replaced with 26 new homes.
Sixteen three-bedroom and 10 two-bedroomed properties have been built and are being sold on a shared ownership basis.
Lisa Gillott, 28, who works for Eon street lighting, and her husband Daniel, 29, a croupier, are among those who have got on the housing ladder thanks to the scheme.
The couple, who have moved into Gateside Drive and are expecting their first baby in December, said they would have otherwise struggled to find the deposit for a mortgage.
Mrs Gillott said: “We had been living in rented flats and then when we were saving for our wedding we had to move in with Dan’s family.
“Then we saw these houses and heard about the shared ownership scheme.
“We only needed a mortgage for £45,000 and we only had to save up a five per cent deposit. It would have been too much to save up for the deposit for a £90,000 mortgage.
“The house is lovely and we are very happy here. It’s perfect.”
The houses have been built by the Muir Group Housing Association using a £1.23m grant from the Homes and Communities Agency.
Terry Bennett, chairman of the Grange Park Community Partnership, said the transformation was helping to attract more families onto the estate.
He said: “The former flats were one-bedroomed and were very old and rundown.
“They were not in a good condition and the access was not good, so they were badly in need of being replaced.
“It is good to see they have gone and been replaced with new family housing.
“One of our aims is to restore pride in the place were people live. But that wasn’t easy with the old flats because the environment was so bad.
“Now we have this smart new housing, with little gardens and parking provision, and people can see things are getting much better.”
Four three-storey blocks of flats were demolished to make way for the new development.
David Robinson, director of development at Muir Group Housing Association, said: “These homes have been designed for modern family living and provide a great addition to the type of housing stock available in this area where Muir Group already has a substantial number of homes for general let.
“On this site, we wanted to offer residents different tenure options and I am delighted to say sales of these shared ownership homes are progressing steadily, with only four homes remaining available at this stage.”
David Croft, a director at Kirkham-based Croft Goode Architects, which designed the homes, said: “This scheme is a high grade development that enhances the character and appearance of the area.
“The development also underscores Muir Group’s commitment to improving the volume and quality of affordable housing on the Grange Park estate and in Blackpool generally.”
The properties meet level three of the government’s Code for Sustainable Homes and will generate 25 per cent less carbon than is allowed under current building regulations.
The houses are also accredited under Lancashire Police’s Secured by Design award scheme which focuses on home security and crime prevention.