THE first phase of a 650-home development is underway in South Ockendon.

House builder Persimmon bought the first phase of the scheme from St Modwen in 2011, after it received outline planning permission to build hundreds of homes on the old 30-acre Ford site on Arisdale Avenue.

St Modwen, a regeneration firm, is set to sell further phases of the development as more of the site is freed up. It is currently being run as an industrial site after being bought in 2006.

Eventually, the site will be made up of two, three and four bedroom family homes and apartments. The site being landscaped, with public open spaces.

Financial contributions for education, health and new affordable homes are also included in the planning permission.

Jason Andrews, Land Director at Persimmon Homes Ltd said: “We are excited at the prospect of working with St. Modwen on the delivery of this important regeneration scheme in the Thames Gateway.

“Site works have now commenced for this first phase of 92 units which includes two bed apartments and two, three and four bedroom family housing, with the first units available for occupation in the first half of 2013.”

Adam Norton, Residential Land Director at St. Modwen said: “It is great to be working with Persimmon and helping to deliver new homes on this key regeneration site in the Thames Gateway.

“The proposals for South Ockendon will provide this former industrial site with a new lease of life and deliver much-needed new homes to meet the growing local demand.”