We speak to our Chief Executive Kevin Rodgers about our £12m refurbishment programme to transform Spon End in Coventry

Posted on September 5th, 2019 by Elaine Davies

As we officially become Citizen one of our first major projects will be the regeneration of Spon End in Coventry.

The £12m refurbishment will be developed over the next four years and will help to transform the area and address the issues of deprivation and anti-social behavior.

Our Chief Executive Kevin Rodgers gives us further insight into the development.

What is going to happen in Spon End?

The first phase of the Spon End regeneration will see three blocks – which are made up of 158 flats in Kerry House, Milestone House and Trafalgar House – improved to make it a better area to live.

Some of the works which will take place during the regeneration include the demolition of some walkways, creation of new walkways to improve the area’s safety, new roofs, windows and doors will also be installed to make the properties energy efficient and warmer.

All of these will help to transform the safety, appearance and quality of the homes.

We are also developing options for  building new affordable homes in the area.

Do you have a timeline for works at the site?

We are in the early stages of the development, but we plan to have this first stage completed by spring 2023.

We are looking to appoint a developer partner in the summer of 2020 and once we have done this, we will look at getting planning permission between October and November 2020.

Work is expected to start at the site in spring 2021.

Why are these works needed?

Following a Planning for Real consultation with residents, the top priorities were to make homes warmer, more attractive and tackle the anti-social behavior on the estate such as fly-tipping.

“Residents have significantly influenced our plans.”

The area is in the top 2% of most deprived areas in the country and will benefit from the regeneration.

What will happen to residents while the works take place?

Residents will be able to stay in their homes while the improvement works take place.

What do residents think?

It’s very early days as residents were only notified on Monday. However, we believe that the plans will be positively received by them. They have told us what they want and we have listened to them when developing these plans.

Aren’t we investing in another area of Coventry?

Yes, in July we announced a major £21million regeneration project which will see Wyken, Coventry transformed.

The 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, 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.

“We are listening to our residents and we are addressing their concerns with our Spon End and Wyken regeneration projects.”

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Read our comment piece in Inside Housing from our Chief Executive – it focuses on how we must be prepared to make decisions which don’t make commercial sense as we become Citizen

Posted on September 3rd, 2019 by Elaine Davies

Today our Chief Executive, Kevin Rodgers, features in a comment piece in Inside Housing, the biggest magazine in the housing sector.

The piece, written by Kevin, focuses on how as housing associations, we must sometimes embark on projects simply because they are right.

You can read the full article here:

As housing associations, we must be prepared to make decisions which do not make commercial sense

Much has been written about the moves into social housing by profit-making organisations – something most of us in the sector find deeply troubling.

That isn’t because we are scared of competition, it’s because we know that to provide social housing that has a real impact you have to make decisions which are not driven by profit.

We must make decisions about our investments with the same rigour and scrutiny as commercial organisations but ultimately be prepared to be guided by what is right and not necessarily what is profitable.

Very real pressures we have all faced, particularly in recent years with rent cuts and reduced grant rates which have forced us to focus on efficiencies and cost cutting, but we cannot lose sight of our sense of purpose.

We officially became Citizen this week. For us, this is a chance to double down on our commitment to add real social value in our communities.

That’s why the first projects we’ve announced as Citizen are two major regeneration projects in inner-city Coventry, which will cost us £35m.

These projects pose a real financial challenge for us and neither will make us a penny in extra rent. In fact we will lose rental income because one of the projects will see us demolish a tower block and replace it with a smaller number of new homes.

But the work will see improvements to hundreds of homes for people in our communities and tackle the priority issues for our tenants: which is the quality of their home and the safety and security of their neighbourhood.

Housing associations are anchor institutions in our communities and we must continue to make a real impact on the lives of the people who live in our homes. That’s how and where we add real value.

As Citizen, we will continue to have an ambitious development programme so that we can help more people who need a good-quality new home, but for us it also means remembering we already have 30,000 homes and tens of thousands of residents who deserve a good home, too.

I was proud to be part of the National Housing Federation’s great places commission and in our site visits across the North and the Midlands, there were fantastic examples of successful regeneration projects with proud people and vibrant communities.

There were also places that felt left behind or that missed out when government priorities and the economy changed. Creating great places requires significant investment, bold leadership and a long-term vision.

That is what we are trying to achieve with our regeneration ambitions at Citizen and working with the community and our partners; I am confident and excited for our future.

As housing associations, we have to be prepared to do this: to throw ourselves headfirst into investing in projects from which we will see no return, simply because it is the right thing to do.

Kevin Rodgers, Chief Executive, Citizen

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Major £12m regeneration project to transform Spon End in Coventry

Posted on September 2nd, 2019 by Laura Pickett

A major regeneration project will transform an area of Coventry originally built in the 1960s over the next four years.

This announcement comes on the day we officially become Citizen, meaning Family Housing Association, Optima Community Association, West Mercia Homes, Whitefriars Housing and WM Housing no longer exist.

We will invest £12m in Spon End with high-quality improvement works to be carried out to 158 flats in three blocks – Kerry House, Milestone House and Trafalgar House. This will include considering options for new affordable homes to be built at the site.

It comes after a survey of residents showed many wanted investment in the area to try to tackle issues like anti-social behavior and fly-tipping, as well as improvements to their homes.

The work will see the blocks transformed in appearance and quality including the installation of new roofs, doors and windows, work to make the homes warmer and more energy efficient and improved security through the creation of new entrance ways and the demolition of some walkways.

The news comes after we announced a £21million regeneration in nearby Wyken in July, including the demolition of a tower block, the refurbishment of another and plans to build new houses in the area.

Our Chief Executive, Kevin Rodgers, says: “We’re delighted to be able to announce this major regeneration project in Spon End – our second in as many months.

“Together with the work we are doing in Wyken this represents a £35million investment to transform two communities over the next five years.”

“When we spoke to residents in Spon End many told us they were experiencing issues and would like to see improvements. We believe it is our duty to deal with those issues and that is what we are doing this.

“We are committed to continuing to invest in Coventry as Citizen and give more people a home and a foundation for life.”

“This is just the start for us as Citizen, we want to continue to lead the way in regeneration and significantly increase our development programme and the range of services we provide to support our communities.”

The process of procuring a developer partner for the regeneration projects has started. They will be appointed in summer 2020 and a detailed consultation with residents will follow.

Cllr David Welsh, Deputy Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities at Coventry City Council, added: “It’s great to see that this area of Coventry is set to be regenerated over the next few years.

“Residents living in the area have said what they would like to see improved and Citizen have listened to what they have to say.

“We must continue to work together to further develop the social housing that is available to the population. Any step in this direction is positive.”

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