Flats de­mo­li­tion to cre­ate ‘high qual­ity’ af­ford­able hous­ing

The Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - Phil Cor­ri­gan Po­lit­i­cal Re­porter philip.cor­ri­[email protected]­plc.com

MORE than 150 coun­cil flats could be de­mol­ished to make way for an ‘in­no­va­tive’ hous­ing scheme – if Gov­ern­ment fund­ing is se­cured.

Stoke-on-trent City Coun­cil is work­ing with a ‘so­cial prop­erty in­vestor’ on the project, which could see 379 new homes built across two sites.

This would in­clude 226 apart­ments at Buck­nall New Road in Han­ley, with 155 low rise flats and maisonettes set to be bull­dozed.

There would also be 51 apart­ments and 62 houses on the al­ready cleared Pyen­est Street site in Shel­ton.

Coun­cil chiefs say the pro­gramme – the first of its kind in the city – will re­sult in a net gain of 224 ‘high qual­ity af­ford­able homes’.

Randy Con­teh, cab­i­net mem­ber for hous­ing, com­mu­ni­ties and safer city, said: “This is a ma­jor ini­tia­tive for the city and the first time a scheme of this scale and am­bi­tion has been de­vel­oped. The gov­ern­ment is look­ing at our project as a pi­o­neer­ing new way to build and de­liver af­ford­able homes.

“We are com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing the best qual­ity ac­com­mo­da­tion for our res­i­dents, and across the city we are re­gen­er­at­ing large ar­eas of brown­field land with homes that meet the needs of lo­cal peo­ple.

“Our pub­lic fi­nances only stretch so far, and the de­mand for new and af­ford­able homes is grow­ing all the time. These pro­pos­als not only pro­vide an in­no­va­tive way to help meet this de­mand, but will also re­de­velop two sites that are in a real need of in­vest­ment.” There has been low de­mand for the 1960s-era low rise flats in re­cent years, and it is un­der­stood that some blocks are now al­most com­pletely empty, with only one or two ten­ants left.

The coun­cil has yet to re­veal which of the blocks in the area would be de­mol­ished if the scheme goes ahead, although fur­ther de­tails will be re­leased after next Tues­day’s cab­i­net meet­ing.

Coun­cil chiefs say they have based their pro­pos­als on feedback from res­i­dents, who called for more rented hous­ing, par­tic­u­larly onebed­room flats suit­able for older peo­ple.

Robert Dyson, left, sec­re­tary of Buck­nall New Road Es­tate Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion, said: “I think it’s good what the coun­cil is do­ing, but they need to give us more in­for­ma­tion.

“Some of the res­i­dents who attend our meet­ings say they don’t know what’s go­ing on. The coun­cil needs to work with the res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion so we can pass that in­for­ma­tion on.

“My con­cern is that if they’re go­ing to de­mol­ish these blocks, where are they go­ing to put the peo­ple who live there? I know of one lady who doesn’t want to move. She’s in a wheel­chair and her flat has been adapted.”

The coun­cil in­sists that no fi­nal de­ci­sions have been made over the blocks, and that letters will be sent to res­i­dents in the area im­me­di­ately after next week’s meet­ing.

It will then be at least a year be­fore any works are car­ried out.

Pro­pos­als for the Buck­nall New Road site also in­clude more car park­ing, im­proved waste man­age­ment fa­cil­i­ties, ex­tra se­cu­rity and land­scap­ing.

The coun­cil has al­ready re­fur­bished three of its five high-rise res­i­den­tial blocks in the area. This work will con­tinue as part of the mas­ter­plan, with Welling­ton Court and West­wood Court be­com­ing sup­ported liv­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion.

NEW HOMES: Low rise flats off Buck­nall New Road in Han­ley could be bull­dozed to make way for new homes.

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