Manchester City Council identified a collection of sites across north Manchester for regeneration, totalling 25 acres. The land was occupied by housing association owned, vacant, terraced houses that the council was struggling to sell. As part of their housing strategy to increase the number of private homes, they demolished all the units whilst retaining the current road layouts using funds provided by the HCA.
There have been issues with the sites including ground levels, existing services, and the proximity of the local housing stock. There were also legal issues relating to street closures and CPO’s that required programming and managing. Existing services and sewers were redundant and needed to be assessed.
The design of the properties needed to be in accordance with council requirements including DFA 2, which deals with disabled access and designing out crime, as well as maintaining the existing road layouts.
Redrow entered into an equity loan scheme with Manchester City Council with Redrow taking a 75% stake in the development and the Council taking 25%. This structured JV working with the landowner/local authority removed the need for land payment.
Due to the lack of sales demand for the existing housing stock in the area, Redrow carried out extensive market research to ensure that the designs were suitable and that proposed sales prices were achievable.
Redrow and the Council designed a masterplan for 450 homes, splitting the land up into 6 sites for phased planning, and submitted the first phase of 119 homes in 2008. Redrow and the Council set up working groups meetings every other month to discuss planning, design, sales and marketing, local labour, cohesion, finance, land issues, and legals. These groups have staff from Redrow, and the City Council (regeneration, planning, legal, highways, and housing strategy teams) in attendance.
The house types have been designed specifically for the neighbourhood, to comply with DFA2, which deals with disabled access, but still retains the high quality Redrow branding and appeal to the local market. Each house is designed to face the street and sit, side by side with the local community rather than being segregated, and has followed the original road patterns. The homes are all constructed to Code Level 3 to lower energy bills, and we have provided each resident with a travel plan on legal completion to encourage use of sustainable forms of transport. This design process has progressed and improved in full consultation with local residents and customers. Our approach has allowed the design of future phases to be developed to suit the specific demands in the area. Planning was subsequently amended on future phases to reflect the successful aspects of the initial development.
In order to ensure improved job prospects for the local community Redrow signed a legal agreement with the Council to ensure that at least 10% of all personnel employed, including sub-contractors on site are local. We have also facilitated apprenticeships on site with at least 2 apprentices working on site at any one time.
To overcome the problem of litter in close proximity to the sites, Redrow has funded an initiative with the Council and local residents to pick up the litter on a regular basis.
To ensure that regeneration is achieved in this area, 100% of the properties are offered for outright sale in order to increase owner occupation in the area. Local residents have been given priority to buy the new homes before they are released for sale on the open market.
Three sites have now completed, including Hanson Gardens (119 homes), Kenyon Gardens (44 homes) and Woodville Gardens (76 homes).
By delivering regeneration on such a large scale, we have been able to create and offer a range of housing options to meet the needs of a range of purchasers. This includes offering larger homes for families through to shared equity properties to help those on lower incomes onto the housing ladder. Redrow has also utilised the Government's Help to Buy scheme which has resulted in a significant increase in plot sales. This offering has worked well with our Part Exchange scheme, which has cut out the issues that arise as the result of a chain. This has been used on approximately 15% of the homes.
In most months throughout the project so far, at least 25% of labour has been from the local area and Redrow has also donated £25k p.a for three years to the creation of Factory Youth Zone for young people in close proximity to the developments.
This is a true regeneration site has helped to deliver on the demand for housing, provide job opportunities for the local residents, and injected much needed life back into an area of north Manchester.
Completion is set for 2018.