UKHA 2009: Creating better places to live by regenerating communities
Winner : Fabrick - Trinity Development, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough
Try these for size: ‘a credit to the cause’, ‘a really comprehensive and holistic scheme’, ‘excellent’, ‘a really, really good scheme’, ‘truly tenure blind’.
The judges’ plaudits just kept on coming for this winning project from Fabrick, a collaboration between Tees Valley Housing and Erimus Housing, which partnered with Middlesbrough Council and others on this hard-to-crack regeneration scheme.
So what’s all the fuss about? North Ormesby is a tough Middlesbrough neighbourhood. At its heart lies a market square which, over the years, fell derelict and unused. On one side lay 300, system-built 1960s maisonettes. On the other, a tired local shopping centre.
In little more than three years, Fabrick has transformed the area. Today, the maisonettes and shopping centre are gone. In their place are a remodelled market square, new road infrastructure, state-of-the-art medical village, a nursery, a 42-unit extra-care scheme complete with bistro and shops and a new community facility known as the Trinity Centre.
And there’s more: construction is under way on 40 houses and bungalows for affordable rent and 110 homes for sale in a tenure-blind, mixed community. Though recession has stalled sales, the team has restructured contracts to keep development going through the downturn.
Locals are also impressed. Their perceptions of the area have improved, with a council survey revealing people now feel safer in North Ormesby and worry less about burglary than before the overhaul.
A neighbourhood manager from Fabrick was on hand every step of the way to ensure that local concerns were listened to and incorporated in the plans. As Community Regeneration Partnership chief executive Angus Kennedy, the lead judge in this category, concluded: ‘The outcomes here have been significant.’
Award sponsored by United House
Elevate East Lancashire - Creative community engagement
Elevate, the market renewal pathfinder for Pennine Lancashire, launched its creative community engagement project two years ago. It aims to incorporate art, not as an afterthought, but as an integral part of the regeneration process.
With the motto ‘not about art for art’s sake’, the project’s achievements include councils recommending it as a way of working, artists leading community engagement initiatives, and local residents taking ownership of areas through creative projects.
Liverpool Mutual Homes - Daneville transformation
LMH kicked off its £17 million scheme to transform Liverpool’s rundown Daneville estate in April 2008.
After 12 months, staff had let 100 per cent of empty properties, and a growing waiting list for homes demonstrated the community’s restored pride.
Particularly impressive is how the team tackled the difficult problem of helping local people understand the project’s physical challenges via intensive resident consultation.
Home - Benwell neighbourhood management initiative
Since 2003 this scheme has tackled housing market failure in Benwell, in Newcastle’s west end. The team has slashed voids there by 79 per cent, increased owner occupation, seen house prices more than double and crime fall by almost half.
The judges noted this was a rare example of a local authority allowing a housing association to lead the project. ‘Home actively engaged the community and their partners to really demonstrable effect,’ said one.
Meden Valley Making Places - Making better places in the Meden Valley
Since 2003, MVMP has strived to regenerate a former mining community blighted by abandoned homes, low demand and lack of housing choice.
It has refurbished homes, eliminated voids and improved the local environment.
Last year the government gave the go-ahead to extend the project until 2011. Judges called it an ‘excellent programme which has drawn together a number of local authorities’. ‘An early example of cross-boundary working which has been very successful,’ they added.