Our first modular home development in Coventry is ready for new tenants

Posted on July 30th, 2019 by suzanne@publiclife.co.uk

Our first two modular homes have officially been completed and are ready for new residents.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to mark the completion of the Littlethorpe development and officials were given a chance to have a look around the properties.

The homes include a two-bedroom property and a three-bedroom property and could be the first of many across the West Midlands.

Our Director of Development, Richard Whittaker, said: “It’s brilliant these homes have been completed and we are handing them over to residents.

“We hope that the people who move into these homes thoroughly enjoy living there. We hope these homes will be the first of many across the West Midlands.”

The two homes were built on the site of a former scout hut.

Each home costs £134,000 to build and the development was part funded by Homes England – the Government’s Housing Agency – and Coventry City Council.

Resident Hammedali Dair is moving into one of the homes from his current accommodation in the Salvation Army.

“I have seen inside the house and it is amazing, it was a huge relief when I was told that I could have it. I feel really great to be the first person to live here as everything will be new and only used by me.”

Hammedali will be living in the property with his wife and son.

The properties will have many benefits which include reduced fuel bills and excellent energy ratings.

Managing Director at Totally Modular, John Connolly, added: “We’re thrilled that the homes have been completed and officially handed over to tenants.

“Up to 95% of work on the homes is completed in our factory. The homes are then taken to the site and craned on to precision installation pads and hooked up to the mains.

“We’re so pleased to have been involved with this project and hope the residents enjoy living in their new homes.”

Cabinet member for Housing and Communities at Coventry City Council, Tariq Khan, said: “It’s great to have seen the journey of these modular homes to completion.

“There is a housing scarcity in Coventry and these builds could be one of the ways to help tackle this as they can be built and transported to site quickly. I hope that the new tenants enjoy living their new home.”

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We sign up to the CIH’s domestic abuse awareness campaign

Posted on July 22nd, 2019 by Laura Pickett

We have signed up to the Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) Make a Stand campaign supporting those affected by domestic abuse.

Millions of people suffer from domestic abuse each year and up to two women are killed by their partner or ex partner every week.

Housing associations house millions of people across the UK – so many residents may be affected by this abuse.

Signing up to the campaign means that we have pledged to make four commitments which will help those suffering from domestic abuse.

These include:

This pledge has been developed in partnership with Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance and Women’s Aid – and by publicly agreeing we are acting to support those suffering from domestic abuse.

Our Policy Officer, Lucy Green, says: “It is incredibly important that we support people who are suffering from domestic abuse and supporting the Chartered Institute of Housing’s campaign is a great way to do this.

“So many people suffer from domestic abuse and we need to do everything we can to support them.”

“We are working on ensuring that we complete all four commitments and we will provide staff with updates in due course.

“We are also currently revising our domestic violence and abuse policy to make sure that it aligns with this campaign.”

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Work is well underway to develop 22 new homes in Sandwell

Posted on July 15th, 2019 by Laura Pickett

Work is well underway on a new £3.8m development of 22 new homes in Sandwell.

The site has already been cleared and foundations are being installed at Little Moor Hill in Smethwick.

There will be 11 shared ownership homes and 11 affordable rent homes developed at the site.

The homes will be a mix of two and three bedroom homes.

Our Director of Development, Richard Whittaker, said: “It’s fantastic that work has started in Sandwell which will bring some much-needed affordable homes to the area.

“The development will allow us to satisfy the different needs of people in the area by offering both affordable rents and shared ownership.”

“We have teamed up with developer TC Homes for this development and we are looking forward to seeing it progress.”

Work on the development is expected to be finished by June 2020.

Richard attended the site with Councillor Joanne Hadley from Sandwell Council and representatives from TC Homes to mark the progress of the development.

Councillor Joanne Hadley, Sandwell’s cabinet member for homes, said: “It’s fantastic news to see that more affordable homes are being built in Smethwick.

“We are always looking to find innovative ways and opportunities to increase the number of affordable homes in Sandwell whether by building new council homes ourselves or working with partners such as Citizen. This scheme is a welcome contribution towards our target.”

Tim Charnley, Director at TC Homes, adds: “It’s great to be working with Citizen on this project in Little Moor Hill.

“The range of homes will offer affordable options for future residents and will be finished to a high standard.”

Our Little Moor Hill development is close to Smethwick town centre, parks and sports facilities.

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Keen to find out more about our regeneration of Wyken? Here is what will happen to residents and timescales of the project

Posted on July 11th, 2019 by Elaine Davies

Our first major project as Citizen will be the regeneration of an area of Wyken.

The £21m regeneration project will see the area of Coventry transformed over the next five years.

93 new homes will be built, and 112 flats refurbished as part of the project.

Our Director of Regeneration, Kevin Roach, talks us through what will be happening to residents and the timescales for the project.

What’s happening in Wyken?

Over the next five years we are planning to demolish Vincent Wyles House, a tower block which is made up of 144 flats. We plan to build c93 new homes in its place.

Our other, 15-storey tower block, William Malcolm House, which is made up of 112 flats, will be refurbished as part of the regeneration project.

We hope the project will be completed in 2024.

What do the residents think?

Since we made the announcement on Monday initial feedback from residents has been positive.

Prior to making the decision about the future of Vincent Wyles House we carried out a survey to gain an understanding of residents’ views of living there and what they would like to see improved.

A total of 96 residents were contacted. The key findings were:

What will happen to the 144 residents living at Vincent Wyle’s House?

Residents will be awarded Band 1A priority on Coventry Homefinder to help them find a new home. A member of our Regeneration Team will work closely with all residents to support them during the re-housing process.

All residents who have been a tenant for at least 12 months will be entitled to receive Statutory Homeloss Compensation. The current figure payable is £6,400. This amount is determined by Central Government and is subject to change.

In addition to this, residents will also be entitled to a package of support to help them with their move.

What’s going to replace Vincent Wyle’s House?

We plan to build c93 new homes on the vacant land and part of the car park which currently isn’t being used. The indicative mix for the new homes is a mix of 2, 3 and 4 bed houses and 2 bed flats. This will be subject to future internal consultation and consultation with the community.

What’s the timeline for the work on Vincent Wyles House?

We envisage that residents will start moving out of Vincent Wyles House in September 2019.

The rehousing programme will be on a phased basis starting on the top floor first and working our way down. By working from the top floor down we are aiming to minimise movement and disturbance for remaining residents.

We hope that by July 2021 we will have rehoused all the residents and the demolition of Vincent Wyles House will begin.

Why is Vincent Wyle’s House being demolished and not William Malcom House?

We made this decision because:

What will happen to the 112 residents at William Malcolm House?

The refurbishment work on William Malcolm House is programmed to begin in 2023.

We aim to have completed the work in 2024.

All the refurbishment work at William Malcolm House will be external – on the outside of the building and in communal areas so residents will be staying in their properties while the work is carried out.

What are the improvements you’re doing to William Malcolm House?

The proposed works for the block are:

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Major £21million regeneration project to transform Wyken, Coventry over the next five years

Posted on July 8th, 2019 by Laura Pickett

A major £21million regeneration project will see an area of Coventry transformed.

The regeneration of an area of Wyken will be our first major regeneration project as Citizen.

Our Vincent Wyles House tower block which is made up of 144 flats will be demolished and 93 new homes will be built in its place.

Meanwhile, our 15-storey William Malcolm House, made up of 112 flats, will be refurbished. The five year project will be completed in 2024.

A survey of our residents who live in the blocks revealed only one in five said it was a good place to live and 40% said the area needed to be improved with crime and anti-social behaviour topping the list.

Kevin Rodgers, our Chief Executive, says: “This is a fantastic project that will transform an area of Coventry.

“This significant investment represents the renewed commitment we have to improve our homes.”

“We are committed to working with partners to improve the lives of our residents living in Coventry.

“We know that there are a number of issues with these blocks because our residents have told us this. We believe they deserve better and we are determined to deliver that.”

The process of appointing a developer partner has started. Once appointed a consultation will take place with residents on the regeneration project. This is expected to take place in Spring 2020.

Cllr David Welsh, Deputy Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, adds: “I am pleased that this investment has been found to build and refurbish hundreds of homes in Wyken.

“We must continue to work together to further develop the social housing that is available to our growing population. It is a major challenge but any positive steps are very welcome.”

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We officially join the Matrix Housing Partnership allowing us to increase affordable housing

Posted on July 2nd, 2019 by Laura Pickett

Earlier this year we announced a major new deal with the Matrix Housing Partnership.

This deal will allow the organisation to increase the delivery of affordable homes from 400 to 550 per year.

The £23m deal allows us to build 680 homes over the next three years.

Off the back of this deal, today, we have officially become a member of the Matrix Housing Partnership.

The partnership is a group of nine social landlords who manage more than 100,000 homes across the Midlands.

The partnership has been in existence for 16 years and last year it signed a strategic partnership agreement with Homes England worth £77m to provide 2,257 homes.

Our Chief Executive, Kevin Rodgers, said: “Joining Matrix Housing is a great move for us and makes sense after we agreed to deliver 680 homes earlier this year in the strategic partnership with Homes England.

“We have great relationships with other organisations in our region and now we have joined the Matrix housing Partnership we can work even closer with them.”

The Matrix Housing Partnership has committed to build 3,700 additional new affordable homes by March 2022.

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Homes transported by truck to site in Coventry as part of modular housing pilot

Posted on July 1st, 2019 by Elaine Davies

Two modular homes have been installed in Coventry as part of our modular housing pilot.

The homes were constructed in the Totally Modular factory in Cradley Heath, West Midlands, and were taken to the site at Littlethope, Willenhall.

Officials attended the site to see the finished homes including our Executive Director of Development Nick Byrne, our Director of Development Richard Whittaker, our Chief Executive Kevin Rodgers, Chief Operating Officer Kate Still, Councillor Ram Lakha, Councillor David Welsh, Founder and Sales Director of Totally Modular Brian Maunder.

The homes built include a two-bedroom property and a three-bedroom property – and they could be the first of many across the West Midlands.

Nick Byrne said he is very impressed by the finished homes.

He said: “It is great to see the finished product after following this journey over the last few months.

“The new homes look brilliant now they are complete and there are so many benefits to this method of building. This is the future of housing with build times dramatically reduced and time on site.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how we can use modular homes in the future.”

The homes have been built in partnership with Totally Modular and Coventry City Council. When they were transported to the site at Littlethorpe.

Managing Director at Totally Modular John Connolly said: “We’re thrilled to have finished the modular homes and installed them successfully at Littlethorpe.

“Up to 95% of the work on the homes is completed in the factory and when they are taken to the site they are lifted on to precision installed pads and once it has been hooked up to the mains, the keys are ready to be handed to the new tenant.

“Our engineers and tradesmen have been working incredibly hard in the factory to assemble the pre-fabricated steel structure, attach all the internal wall panels, complete the insulation and external finishing such as bricks.”

The properties will have many benefits for residents including reduced fuel bills as both eco and energy efficient technology such as solar PV, battery storage, air source heat pumps and an integrated mechanical ventilated heat recovery system will be installed leading to high thermal efficiency resulting in an excellent energy rating.

Deputy cabinet member for Housing and Communities at Coventry City council, David Welsh, said the homes are a great way to tackle the housing crisis in the area.

He said: “Currently we have a housing scarcity in Coventry and because these builds were created quickly, they could be a way to solve the housing crisis.

“The modular homes have so many positive points with lower impact on residents near the site and a quick completion. The scheme is something that should be considered in future elsewhere in Coventry.

“The completed houses look great and we hope that the new tenants enjoy living there.”

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