Ellesmere Port councillor and borough housing chief Angela Claydon (Lab, St Paul’s) was on hand to cut the ribbon for the first new council homes to be built locally for 40 years.
The 45 homes are under construction on Chase Park, the new housing development being built by north Cheshire-based Galliford Try Partnerships at the former Greyhound Stadium site on Thornton Road.
The excitement of the speedway and the dogs will be replaced by the sounds of suburbia as the housebuilder creates a total of 141 new homes on the site.
The 45 homes being built for the council represent the first local authority housing in the area in more than four decades.
Sanctuary Homes in the west Midlands, which runs Chester’s social housing, also has 56 new properties being developed on the site which are available to buy outright, to rent or through a flexible shared ownership scheme.
Cllr Claydon, who was also housing chief in the former Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council, said: “This is an exciting chance to rent a home in a newly redeveloped area which is seeing a great deal of investment and new homes.
“Ellesmere Port is the first location in West Cheshire for new council homes for many years and will offer quality homes for affordable rent.”
The council points out new houses are also being built in Neston and Winsford.
In addition to the 45 homes under construction for the council, Galliford Try will have 40 homes available at the site for rent and sale under its Linden Homes banner as well as Help to Buy schemes to support those looking to take the first step on to the property ladder.
Brendan Blythe, managing director at Galliford Try Partnerships North West, said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council to deliver much needed high-quality, affordable new housing to Ellesmere Port.
“The town’s future is looking really positive with plans for wider redevelopment and investment being considered and it’s in an ideal location for commuters travelling to Liverpool, Chester and Warrington so we expect the site to be popular.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming prospective new homeowners to the site and seeing the community develop at Chase Park.”
The new build follows Cheshire West and Chester Council naming Galliford Try as development partner for the former greyhound racing track in a £3.645m deal.
The plans outlined for the near 11 acre site will see the new homes, car parking and extensive landscaping.
A replacement sports pitch will be provided nearby at Stanney Grange.
The greyhound stadium was revamped in 2013 courtesy of Liverpool-based entrepreneur Phillip Warren
A total of £170,000 was invested in renovating the 2,000-capacity stadium, once home to the Ellesmere Port Gunners speedway squad and upgrading the track and facilities.
But the stadium, one of only nine independent tracks left in the country, stopped holding greyhound race meetings and closed in spring 2014.
In collaboration with the stadium company the borough council sought bids from developers willing to provide homes on the site.
It was reported at an earlier stage the council would take on the affordable homes paying £65,000 for each one bedroom apartment, £75,000 for each two-bed town house and £80,000 for each three-bed town house.
As part of negotiations with Sport England due to the loss of the former playing pitch, Linden Homes will make a financial contribution of at least £267,567.16 towards the replacement pitch.
Objecting to the loss of the stadium, Little Sutton resident Peter Zemroch argued: “Ellesmere Port stadium is a valuable sporting asset.
“Not only was it once home of the Ellesmere Port Gunners speedway team, whose re-formation was blocked by the old Ellesmere Port and Neston council on noise grounds, it has also been the home of several semi-professional football clubs.
“These include Ellesmere Port Town FC, Ellesmere Port & Neston FC and even, for a time, Colwyn Bay FC when they were exiled from Wales.
“Indeed the stadium was built in the 1960s as an out-of-town replacement for the old York Road ground when that was lost to property developers.
“The loss of Thornton Road would hinder the renaissance of semi-professional sport in the town for the foreseeable future.”
Principal planning officer Steve Lewis told the borough’s planning committee there was ‘little chance’ of the stadium being brought back into use.
Galliford Try commented at the time: “Following a detailed planning process, we are delighted that Cheshire West and Chester Council has granted approval for the redevelopment of the Greyhound Stadium.
“This scheme is instrumental in the continued redevelopment and regeneration of Ellesmere Port and we look forward to progressing work on site imminently.”