Unicorn House: Spring construction start for new North Shields town centre affordable homes

Elected Mayor of North Tyneside Dame Norma Redfearn DBE with Karbon Homes and Adderstone

Work is set to get underway on the development of 28 new affordable homes in North Shields town centre, thanks to a North Tyneside affordable housing partnership.

North Tyneside Council has completed the land sale of the former Unicorn House office block site to northern housing association Karbon Homes, a partnership set to bring more affordable home ownership options to North Shields town centre.

Working in partnership with contractor Adderstone Living, Karbon will deliver the original plans for 22 three and four bed houses, and six one and two-bed apartments, with work set to start on site by the end of March.

The 28 new homes will be available for a mix of Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy, a scheme through which rents for the properties are set at 20% less than local market rent. This gives residents the opportunity to save the difference for a deposit towards buying the home in the future.

The redevelopment of the site is part of North Tyneside Council’s Ambition for North Shields and the Fish Quay.

Paul Fiddaman, Chief Executive at Karbon Homes, said: “It’s brilliant to be working alongside North Tyneside Council to bring these plans for much needed new affordable homes in the borough to fruition. This is  a really exciting development for North Shields, with a mix of apartments and family homes that will play a big role in transforming that area of the town centre.

“We have a strong track record of working with Adderstone Living, having worked together to deliver good quality, affordable homes elsewhere across the region, and we look forward to getting started on site and seeing these new homes progress.”

Elected Mayor of North Tyneside Dame Norma Redfearn DBE said: “The sale of the former Unicorn House site to Karbon Homes is great news for this part of North Shields. This was a derelict office block that had stood empty for more than seven years. Now it will be transformed into attractive, high-quality, much-needed affordable homes.

“New housing is an important part of our ambitious plans for North Shields and the Fish Quay. New residents will help breathe new life into the town and additional footfall will support local businesses.

“It ties in with other improvements to the area including the regeneration of Northumberland Square, Howard Street, Bedford Street, the Transport Hub and Town Square, and the new Riverside Embankment Walkway linking the town centre to our vibrant Fish Quay.

“We know residents have been waiting for the redevelopment of this site and we’re very pleased that it now has a bright future.”

The development will be part-funded through Karbon’s £165m strategic partnership with Homes England, funding which is enabling the housing association to deliver 2,200 much-needed affordable homes across the North East and Yorkshire by 2028.

The development is also backed by the North of Tyne Combined Authority, with £1.3 million from its Brownfield Housing Programme used to fund the demolition of the former office block and prepare the ground for new houses, roads and communal gardens.

Adderstone Living, which is a dedicated social housing division of Adderstone Group committed to tackling the housing crisis by building affordable housing solutions, will redevelop the site, constructing the new properties.

Managing director Stephen McCoy, said: “Unicorn House is a great example of how different organisations can come together at speed to achieve a common goal. We have all moved at pace to get this scheme through legals and planning and onto site, with Karbon Homes and North Tyneside Council both being positive and proactive to overcome the challenges along the way. We look forward to now delivering this exemplar project.”     

Completion of the new homes is expected by Summer 2025.