Fieldhead Regeneration Project gets the green light

Release Date: 12-Aug-2009
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has formally announced the allocation of nearly £4 million of funding for the regeneration of the Fieldhead estate, Birstall, West Yorkshire.
The Fieldhead Regeneration Project aims to demolish 155 unpopular flats across the estate, which will be replaced by 140 modern family homes.

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 be built in phases in five different areas of the estate, and will provide 78 much needed new affordable two and three bedroom family houses, mainly for rent, with some for shared ownership. 62 houses will be built for sale, giving financial support to the scheme. As part of the construction process, appointed developer Keepmoat will provide apprenticeship opportunities, jobs and training for local people.

An essential part of the project will be to breathe new life into the communal areas of the estate, not just build new houses. There’ll be new open space and play areas for people to enjoy, a “village square” and new shops.

Cllr Shabir Pandor, Kirklees Council Cabinet Member for Housing said: “We are committed to building affordable homes, creating jobs and giving our communities a much needed lift during these difficult economic times. It is a top priority for the Council.

“We’re determined to do all we can to see new homes built to meet the needs of local people. The funding for these homes will add substantially to our funding available for new affordable homes, helping us to meet housing needs in Kirklees and simultaneously helping house builders to maintain new build activity.”

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.

This is the first time that KCA has secured funding from the government, helping them to build much needed new affordable housing, and help the Council to achieve its priority of regeneration and sustainable development. The Council will provide the land and financial support, and work with KCA and KNH to make sure that the houses are delivered and managed properly. The properties will be managed by KNH on behalf of KCA.

Peter Rock, Chair of KCA, welcomed the funding announcement: “This is the news we’ve been waiting for. The partnership approach we’ve taken here has enabled us to access funding that wouldn’t have been available otherwise and gives us a model that we may be able to use in other parts of Kirklees too.

“Everyone has worked so hard to get to this point, and there’s even more hard work ahead of us, but it’s great to be finally able to get on with the job of transforming Fieldhead on behalf of the Council.”

KNH’s Chief Executive, Simon Rogers, agreed, saying: ““It’s fantastic news that the HCA has agreed to fund the Fieldhead project and we’re glad they recognised the value of this project. “

This scheme has the potential to not just change how the estate looks but also to change the lives of the people who live there. Part of our mission is to help build successful communities, and this project will help achieve that at Fieldhead.”

Ward councillor Liz Smaje has been involved in the Fieldhead project since the outset. She said: “At a time when housing developments and major improvement schemes are struggling, I’m very pleased that Fieldhead has been given the go-ahead. The planned improvements will benefit the estate for years to come.”

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 has been approved by the HCA as a potential receiving body for Social Housing Grant money
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