Work gets underway on Fieldhead

Release Date: 07-Sep-2009
An important milestone was reached today, when construction work officially began on the Fieldhead Regeneration Project.
Representatives from each of the partners attended the ground breaking, along with local MP Mike Wood and the new apprentices

Representatives from each of the partners attended the ground breaking, along with local MP Mike Wood and the new apprentices

To mark the event, senior councillors, community leaders and representatives from each of the organisations involved in the project took part in a ground-breaking ceremony.

The work is being carried out in five phases across the estate. In the first phase that started today, a number of flats in the Lowood Lane area are being demolished to make room for new family housing.

Altogether, 155 unpopular flats across the estate will be replaced by 140 two- and three-bedroom houses: 78 will be for rent, with some for shared ownership, and 62 will be built for sale, giving financial support to the scheme. There’ll also be new open space and play areas for people to enjoy, a “village square,” new shops and traffic calming measures.

As part of the construction process, appointed developer Keepmoat is providing apprenticeship opportunities for seven local people. This involves on-the-job training as well as college attendance, at the end of which they’ll have a recognised qualification as well as valuable experience.

Fieldhead residents Dale Warner and Joshua Parkin are two of the new joinery apprentices. Dale said: “This is a chance to get into something I really want to do, and it’s going to be great to be able to see my work on the estate and know that I played a part in the project.”

The scheme is a unique partnership developed over several years between Kirklees Community Association (KCA), Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) Kirklees Council, and the residents of Fieldhead.

The new homes will not be owned by the Council or a housing association, but by KCA, a local charitable organisation set up in the 1990s to provide housing, promote education and relieve poverty. KCA have received a government grant to partially fund the project, and the Council has provided the land and financial support. The new homes will be managed by KNH.

Speaking about the project, Leader of Kirklees Council, Cllr Mehboob Khan said: “This project has taken years of planning and all the partners have worked very hard to get us to this point. I’m therefore delighted that the builders are now on-site and that the physical task of transforming Fieldhead can begin.”

Cllr Shabir Pandor, is the Cabinet member responsible for housing. He said: “Building affordable homes, creating jobs and giving our communities a much needed lift during these difficult economic times are top priorities for the council. This is therefore a major milestone, not just for Fieldhead, but for Kirklees as a whole.

”The partnership between the council, KCA and KNH is truly unique and shows what can be achieved when we work together to deliver needed housing and wider community benefits.”

Notes to editors:

KCA is a registered charitable company that owns 85 properties which are managed and rented by KNH. It was formed in the mid-1990s to benefit the inhabitants of Kirklees in the following ways:
• to provide facilities in the interests of social welfare for recreation and leisure time occupation
• the provision of housing and associated amenities
• the promotion of education and the relief of poverty.

It is delighted to be one of the first such organisations to be approved by the Government’s Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) as a potential receiving body for Social Housing Grant money from the 2008/11 National Affordable Homes Programme allocation. The council is a minority stakeholder in KCA.

Kirklees Council is providing land for the scheme which enables the funding to be invested in new housing, rather than in buying land. It will also act as financial guarantor for KCA, which allowed them to access HCA funding.

KNH is a not-for-profit company (ALMO) that manages Kirklees Council’s 23,500 council houses. The company gained an ‘Excellent’ rating from the Government’s Housing Inspectors, who praised KNH for going beyond traditional housing management to engage with the people who live on the estates they manage and to genuinely listen to t
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