COUNCIL homes have made a comeback in Corringham with the official unveiling of the first new ones for more than 20 years.

Oxwich House provides 16 one and two bedroom flats for Thurrock Council tenants, replacing a block of unused garages in Oxwich Close, which had become a target for arson atttacks and antisocial behaviour.

Thurrock Mayor Yash Gupta cut the ribbon at a special ceremony, then joined councillor responsible for housing, Val Morris-Cook, to meet some of the tenants who have just moved in.

Mrs Morris-Cook hailed the occasion as “historic”.

She said: “This is a fabulous and historic morning for housing in Thurrock. When I became portfolio holder for housing, one of my top priorities was to see more housing developments like Oxwich House – new modern homes for local people, that are decent homes and not shoe boxes.”

As well as providing new homes for people on the housing list, the council said there have been other benefits to scheme.

The authority was able to award two sub-contracts to local companies, and the main contractor, Durkans, and its sub-contractors had been able to offer apprenticeships and training opportunities for people in Thurrock.

Mrs Morris-Cook said the authority was keen to get started on building more new homes.

She said: “We’re not just talking about the need to build housing, we’re actually building it, and this is just the start.

“Our ambition is to build 200 well-designed homes a year that will change people’s lives for the better.

“Having buildings like Oxwich House, that reduce household utility bills, that are well designed, where families can live in comfort, is what I want for all our residents.”

Nearly 3,000 people are on the council’s housing waiting list.