Release Date: 30-Jun-2009
Kirklees councillors have given planning permission to the Fieldhead Regeneration Project.
Their decision means that the ambitious scheme to transform the Birstall estate can now go ahead, pending a decision about government funding, which is due next month.
The Fieldhead Regeneration Project is a partnership between the residents of Fieldhead, Kirklees Community Association (KCA), Kirklees Council and KNH. This partnership has been planning the regeneration of Fieldhead for several years, and now the hard work and persistence of all involved looks set to pay dividends.
It will involve the appointed developer, Keepmoat, knocking down 155 unpopular flats in five different areas of the estate. This will be done in phases, and the flats will be replaced with 78 new, affordable two- and three- bedroom family houses, mainly for rent, with some for shared ownership. There will also be 62 houses built for sale. All the new houses will be built to blend in with the existing houses.
The owner of the new affordable homes will be KCA, a local charitable organisation. They will be working with the council to make sure that the houses are delivered and managed properly.
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.
As well as the construction work, Keepmoat will help with jobs and training for local people by providing work placement, training and apprenticeship opportunities.
Ward councillor Liz Smaje has been involved in the Fieldhead project since the outset. She said: “the partnership approach being taken Fieldhead is unique.
“At a time when housing developments and major improvement schemes are struggling, I’m very pleased that Fieldhead is pressing ahead. The planned improvements will benefit the estate for years to come.”
Peter Rock, Chair of KCA, agreed: “It’s great news that we’ve now got planning permission.
“We’re looking forward to working with all our partners to make this project happen and start transforming Fieldhead.”
Cllr Andrew Marchington, the cabinet member responsible for housing, added: “This is such an important project, not just because of the new homes that will be built but also because of all the other benefits it will bring to the area, from new spaces for children to play to new jobs and training opportunities, which are more important than ever during this recession.”
KNH’s Chief Executive, Simon Rogers, agreed, saying: “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.”
• The project is being funded by contributions from the council, KCA, money from the houses for sale, and, subject to final approval a grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).