Brackenhall makeover completed

Release Date: 23-May-2008
An important milestone has been celebrated in Brackenhall (22 May), with the official completion of a scheme to give homes on the estate a facelift.
Before and after in Brackenhall

Before and after in Brackenhall

To mark the occasion, the local tenants and residents association was presented with a 'scrapbook' documenting the project, at an event also attended by leading councilors and members of the project team.

The project has transformed the appearance of around 130 houses on five streets by painting the outsides, adding canopies over the doors, and installing walls, fencing and gates. The work was coordinated by Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, the company that manages council housing in the borough.

The aim of the makeover was to lessen the difference between new housing in the area and existing Council housing. This has been achieved by breaking up the uniform appearance of the five streets and giving each street or block of houses its own identity, all the while creating a harmonious overall appearance.

As with other regeneration schemes KNH has carried out, they were committed to involving tenants and other residents in decisions about the project. So they commissioned the Council’s arts and regeneration agency, Loca, to carry out a carefully planned creative consultation process with tenants and residents.

The creative team of artists and designers ran a series of workshops to get local people to think about how they’d like the houses and streets to look and feel, and people of all ages and backgrounds got involved.

Six colours were chosen for the painting scheme, all natural earth tones that blend with the natural environment and that complement the colours found in existing building materials on Brackehall. Tenants also chose six design options for their gates, which were inspired by natural leaf and plant forms in the local area.

The improvements have done more than transform the visual appearance of the estate. Gail Lomax, the housing officer responsible for the area, said:

"There's a really positive mood amongst tenants and residents now - a real sense of community spirit and a sense of 'ownership'.

"Historically, this area hasn’t been very popular, but now, we've got no empty houses and there's a waiting list of people wanting to move here.

Margaret Lees and Joan Mallinson from the local TRA, said: "The improvements have made a tremendous difference to the overall look of the area.

"There's a renewed sense of pride in the area which has made people want to stay and choose to live here."

KNH Project Manager, Janet Gibson, who coordinated the multiagency project, confirmed what a success the project had been: "Everyone involved in the scheme is thrilled with the end result.

"Although initially some people were skeptical about the changes, since we started the consultation and work got underway, we haven’t had a single complaint. People have literally gone out of their way to tell us how much they like the improvements."

- The makeover work was part of the Deighton-Brackenhall Initiative (DBI), an award-winning regeneration programme that has transformed a sizeable chunk of north Huddersfield. DBI is a partnership project between Kirklees Council, KNH and Southdale Homes.

- The Brackenhall improvements have been jointly funded by a partnership between DBI and KNH.

- KNH manages the housing renewal and regeneration programme in the Brackenhall area and has been asked to oversee the spending of some of the Community Dividend in the area initially affected by the demolition work. This includes Crest Hill Road, Bracken Grove, Trafalgar Close, Hopkinson Road and Leeside Avenue (approximately 130 properties).
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