Construction work has started on a £4.6m housing development in Jarrow.
The town’s Stephen Hepburn and Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Fay Cunningham used silver spades to cut the first sod at one of two sites in the town.
The ceremony heralded the start of work on 55 properties which are due to be completed in March next year.
The homes will be a mix of one, two and three-bedroomed houses, bungalows and flats on Saxon Way and Stanley Street.
They are among 400 properties to be built over the next five years by the Borough’s new independent housing company, South Tyneside Housing Ventures trust.
The company obtained £275,000 worth of funding for the properties from the Care and Specialised Support fund provided by the Homes and Communities Agency.
Coun Cunningham, said: “It’s really exciting to see this project get off the ground.
“Housing has such a major impact on people’s lives and I’m sure all those who move into these properties will be proud to call them their homes.”
Brian Scott, company secretary of South Tyneside Housing Ventures, added: “This promises to be a fantastic development which will provide quality social housing to help meet local need.
“Once finished, they will be rented out via South Tyneside Homes, with a small number to be offered for sale with shared ownership.”
South Tyneside Housing Ventures Trust was set up by the Council and South Tyneside Homes to take the lead on building new homes in the Borough. It is run by a board of seven members, including three local councillors.
The trust has also purchased 20 under-construction bungalows for rent at Simonside Park in South Shields and it is hoped that this will lead to more local employment and apprenticeships being on offer.
Leading councillors and council officers, representatives from developer Southdale and staff and children from Dunn Street Primary School were also present at the turf cutting.
Southdale, has been working closely with the school to promote site awareness and safety. Pupils were invited to design health and safety posters and the winners were awarded prizes at last week’s ceremony.