AN HISTORIC day has arrived for the district as tenants were handed the keys to the first newly built social housing for more than 25 years this week.

An old block of garages at Drake Road in Newton Abbot have been demolished to make way for two three-bedroom homes, prioritised for families whose children are living with disabilities.

Teignbridge Council has ensured that the homes were built with carbon reduction technology, such as solar panels and air source heat pumps.

Work began on the build in November 2020 and, despite the challenge of the pandemic, the homes were completed on schedule.

Young couple Amy and Daniel Hutchings were impressed by the district council’s efforts to provide a suitable home for them and their children, one of whom suffers from the very rare, Pit Hopkins syndrome.

The couple were living in an old cottage but the property – with its narrow hallways and small rooms – was unsuitable for their two-year-old son, Oliver.

Young Oliver is currently non-verbal and cannot walk. In his last home in the cottage his bed was supported by books wedged underneath due to the old and uneven floor.

He’ll have no such problems in his new modern home said mum, Amy.

‘He’s the happiest little boy. This new home is so central for us to get around and there’s even a special group held in the Buckland Centre for disabled children to take their first steps.’

She added: ‘That class is just a couple of minutes away. It’s absolutely perfect.’

Soon to be neighbour, Doug Cramb, collected the keys on behalf of his family.

Doug was elated at being shown around his new home to-be and was ‘amazed’ at the news that he and his family had been recognised as being especially in need of a suitable home. Both Doug’s son and wife live with a disability.

Doug’s son has been partially sighted since birth. In their former home, both his son (8) and young daughter (11) were sharing one bedroom. This presented ‘big challenges’, especially for his son.

Doug explained: ‘Sharing his room with his sister is especially hard, they struggle sharing space with each other. He trips on things left on the floor by his sister.’

He continued: ‘He’s been partially sighted since birth but has a good memory for where things are.’

Doug hopes that his new spacious bedroom would help with his son’s condition.

On hand to welcome the families were district councillors Martin Wrigley and Colin Parker.

Cllr Wrigley, who serves as the executive member for communities and housing, was ‘elated’ at the sight of finishing touches being put on the buildings.

‘This shows what “can” be done,’ said Cllr Wrigley. ‘This is just the beginning of the Teignbridge 100, meaning there will always be 100 new homes in the pipeline.

He added: ‘We’ve built these on budget without having to compromise on the things we wanted.’

Cllr Parker spoke of concerns that had been raised over parking after the former site of garages was demolished.

‘We seem to have ended up with plenty of parking for residents,’ said Cllr Parker. ‘It’s a great use of a Brownfield site.’

Construction company, Prime Build, brought the vision of Exeter based Grainge Architects to life. Architects David McNicol and Brittany Bedford were on site to see the finished build.

David said: ‘It’s certainly an eco-friendly build with a high standard. Brittany agreed: ‘It was clear that the council knew this was important to get right.’