The Sanctuary Housing Group, based in Worcester, one of the UK’s leading social housing providers has been appointed by ESG and Herefordshire Council to manage the development of the new urban village, news of which will be welcomed by the 6000 people currently on housing waiting lists in the county.

Jonathan Bretherton Chief Executive of ESG said: "Blackfriars will be a ground-breaking scheme, a community led development not one led by a private developer. Housing experts are watching its progress with interest. Importantly, it will not be a huge out of town estate, but an inner city community with all its associated shopping and leisure facilities and employment opportunities close to hand. It will create a new and more sustainable lifestyle for those who choose to live there."

Cllr John Jarvis, cabinet member for environment and strategic housing, said: "The plans for a new urban village are integral to our vision to re-energise Hereford. The building of a significant number of affordable homes, in a community in the heart of the city, will be attractive to younger people, who need to get their feet onto the housing ladder, and would like to live close to the shops and leisure facilities on offer in the centre of Hereford."

Sanctuary will form a joint venture with ESG to deliver the Blackfriars project, investing in land purchase, engaging architects and engineers to prepare the plans for the village, due to be completed by 2020.

Sanctuary is an exempt charity, who will be responsible for the long term stewardship of Blackfriars Village. They will manage the construction of the affordable homes, available to those on the housing waiting list, for rent or on a shared equity basis. The remaining homes will be built by private developers on allocated sites, closely supervised by ESG and Sanctuary to ensure the vision of a tightly knit, sustainable community is achieved.

The site of the new village will stretch from Merton Meadow, across Widemarsh and up to what is currently Jewsons builders’ merchant’s yard, with the new half mile link road running through it, forming part of the total 40 hectare (100 acre) ESG area. It will have direct pedestrian and cycle access to the city centre, the new retail quarter and to the public transport hub to be built at the rail station. To add to the sense of community by bringing workers into the area, offices will also be built, including a new divisional headquarters for West Mercia Police employing over 300 people.

David Bennett, Sanctuary’s Group Chief Executive, said: "We are delighted to have been chosen to work with ESG and Herefordshire Council on this pioneering project and we look forward to helping them realise their vision for the area.

"Sanctuary has considerable experience of delivering major regeneration schemes on time and on budget, and we will work in close partnership with the community and other stakeholders to ensure that we create a safe, environmentally friendly and desirable neighbourhood."