A man whose family hails from Newcastle's west end has been appointed to head up the north's largest, single site, housing led regeneration programme at Scotswood.
Lee McGray is the new Development Director with the New Tyne West Development Company (NTWDC), the joint venture partnership behind the £265 million award winning project creating The Rise on the banks of the Tyne.
Now living in Rowlands Gill, Lee is no stranger to the initiative, having been a director with Hall and Partners - consultants to the developers - for the past decade.
He said: "Having been involved with this scheme from its infancy I am delighted to be taking charge just as it begins to live up to the promises made during the planning. Over the next few years I believe that the influx of residents and the creation of jobs will support economic and social regeneration to match the urban landscape improvements being delivered through the construction of high quality homes."
The vision is that by 2025, The Rise will be a diverse, sustainable and successful community of around 6,000 people living in approximately 1,800 well designed, modern, energy efficient homes, with heating and hot water supplied from a district energy system.
The scheme has recently been awarded the regional Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Residential award and is a finalist in July's national Royal Town Planning Institute Awards. It is also one of only a handful of UK developments to achieve 'Outstanding' in the Design Review and Enabling Services' Built for Life assessment.
Underpinning the project is the revitalisation of existing facilities and the creation of new ones, to help integrate The Rise into the existing community. For example, there will be a neighbourhood centre and commercial facilities while at the Bridgewater Primary School, teaching assistants were part funded to help achieve 'Outstanding' ratings in four Ofsted inspection areas. This placed the school among the UK's top 20%.
Not surprisingly the development has proved extremely popular - especially with local buyers. Around 80 of the 100 homes sold to date have been to people living within 10 miles. Roughly 15% of the properties are being provided for affordable rent and shared ownership and the first tenants have already moved in.