WORK has started on the first new council houses to be built in Rotherham for 30 years.
The first sod was cut yesterday on a site at Wood Street, Thrybergh, where 36 council-owned houses and apartments will be be built by George Hurst and Sons Ltd.
The Mayor of Rotherham, Cllr Rose McNeely, turned over the first turf to start the £2.3 million scheme, which will feature 28 two, three and four-bedroom houses as well as eight two-bedroom apartments.
They will be the first of a total of 127 units to be developed for the authority on six sites across the town.
The schemes have been made possible after the borough council was successful in bidding for £8.5 million of grant funding specifically for building new council homes from the previous Government's Homes and Communities Agency.
Cllr Jahangir Akhtar, Cabinet member for Housing and Neighbourhoods, said: “We have wanted to build council houses for many years in Rotherham and thanks to a great deal of hard work and determination the council was very successful in its bids.
“This now means that by August 2011, we can offer 127 families and individuals excellent brand-new council-owned properties.
“In addition we are also supporting local labour and equipping people with skills by ensuring apprentices student placements will be working on the sites.”
The next site to see work begin will be at Rother View Road at Canklow at the end of July when 29 houses will be built by the Wates Group.
Other sites will be at Albert Road, West Melton, where 29 houses, apartments and bungalows are to be built by Wildgoose Construction, which is also building 21 houses at Albany Road, Kilnhurst.
Two sites are to be developed in Maltby. Eight houses and bungalows are to be built at Newland Avenue, Maltby, by Bramalls, while four apartments are to be built at Stone Park Close by TH Michaels.
Planning permission has been granted for five of the six sites with the final one going to Rotherham's Planning Board later this month.
Work on all the sites will start before September and all properties will be built with energy efficiency measures.