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In at the rebirth of forgotten town; meet the developer homemaker meets Morris Muter, the man behind Project Genesis, which has helped to transform Consett.

THE booming town of Consett is almost unrecognisable from the depressed and dejected area of the early 1980s.

And much of the transformation has come about thanks to the work of Morris Muter and his company, Dysart Residential Ltd. The Chequers in Templetown, Consett, County Durham, is a project by Dysart, a development of 76 two to five-bedroom homes.

However, it is only the tip of the iceberg of what the whole entails.

Dysart Developments is the lead private-sector partner in Project Genesis, founded in 1994, and is the company charged with regeneration and development of the former Consett Steelworks site, 750 acres on the edge of the town centre.

Following clearance and decontamination of the site over a 14-year period from 1980, funded by a grant from the European Union, Derwentside Council and Dysart formed Project Genesis to facilitate the creation of new residential areas, leisure amenities and employment opportunities, thereby restoring the site as a focus for life in the town.

Project Genesis is unique in that development profit is shared between the developer and Genesis trustees.

The trustees control a fund, which is administered to bring benefits to Consett and its people. One of these has been the CCTV system, which provides greater security for residents of the town.

The project began, similarly to the way Dysart operated at their Newcastle Business Park development, with the creation of a management centre, from which the whole area could be controlled and managed on a day-today basis.

A masterplan was created to set the work in motion, and much of that has been achieved, to rebuild the community with a mix of industrial, commercial, residential, retail and leisure, and to landscape the area to create an urban park.

Over the past 15 years, food manufacturer International Cuisine has been built, which employs more than 500 people; Derwentside College was given a new building, which permitted educational growth; the Victoria Shopping Centre and bus station, Wetherspoons and McDonalds brought more shopping and leisure choice to the town.

More retail is planned with a 100,000sqft retail park on Berry Edge, and more retail units on Front Street in Consett town centre. In addition, there are plans for a sports and leisure complex, and more housing.

Morris Muter, managing director of Dysart Developments and the driving force behind Project Genesis, explained: "Consett has been completely transformed and the infrastructure of the town is now very strong.

"Project Genesis has brought in jobs, retail choice and residential opportunities. Houses offer much better value in Consett than the same type of properties just 10 miles away, and our Chequers development has been successful in attracting discerning buyers, holding its own in the current climate."

Phase three of The Chequers is now complete and house prices start at pounds 124,995 for a two-bedroom starter home. Every home in the development offers an en suite bathroom to the master bedroom as well as a downstairs cloakroom, and each property has a garage and parking.

Morris continued: "One of the features that buyers find attractive is the view from the properties across the surrounding countryside.

"We designed the properties using the hillside to make the most of the view, by building them three-storey on one side, and two-storey on the other, with balconies facing the open countryside where possible. The Chequers is also right next to the coast-to-coast cycle path, so cycling enthusiasts can cycle to their heart's content, but it's still just a short walk to the town centre shopping."

Only 22 properties remain of the first three 3 phases. For further information go to or tel: (01207) 582890.


Driving force: Morris Muter is behind Dysart Developments, which is involved in the rebirth of Consett.; Stylish: The Chequers showhome with en suite bathroom to the master bedroom as well as a downstairs cloakroom.; Experience: The newly-built Soprano's Italian restaurant adds to Consett's renaissance.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 13, 2008
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