We help secure £550,000 funding to fight crime in Hillfields

Posted on July 30th, 2020 by Elaine Davies

This week a £550,000 Safer Street Funds grant was awarded to Hillfields in Coventry to help fight crime in the area.

The Safer Street Fund is a £25million Government initiative to tackle burglary and theft in crime hotspots throughout the UK.

The money awarded to Hillfields will be used to install new CCTV, lampposts and residents will be given home security packs to help deter crooks and will be encouraged to join the Street Watch scheme in a bid to help improve community safety.

As a key partner and land owner in Hillfieds, we worked closely with Coventry City Council and the police to finalise the Hillfields bid for the Safer Street Fund. We are part of the Council’s working group on the bid and our homes along with others in Hillfields will benefit from the funding.

Our Director of Housing Peter Gill says: “It’s great news for us and our customers that we’ve been successful in securing £550,000 to help improve community safety in the Hillfields area of Coventry.

“This is the maximum grant available and I’m delighted that the Government is starting to acknowledge the problems we have with crime in Hillfields and are committed to helping us improve community safety.

“I’m certain our customers will welcome the news and will want to work in partnership to help us reduce crime and antisocial behaviour in the neighbourhood.”

The deputy leader of Coventry City Council, Abdul Khan, adds: “This is great news for the residents of Hillfields. We are pleased that we have been successful in our bid for the Safer Streets funding.

“This extra funding will help us to make Hillfields a safer and more welcoming part of the city.”

The Hillfields Safer Street Fund has been allocated a Home Office lead and we’ll continue to be part of Coventry City Council’s working group to deliver the bid.

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Work starts on 600 homes at the former Lea Castle Hospital site in Kidderminster

Posted on July 28th, 2020 by Elaine Davies

Work has officially started on a major development at the former Lea Castle Hospital site in Kidderminster.

Over the next eight years, 600 homes will be built at the 49-hectare site and will be made up of one, two, three and four-bedroom homes.

We are working with Vistry Partnerships to build 240 affordable homes – 59 social rent, 100 affordable rent and 81 shared ownership – and 360 outright sale through a joint venture with Vistry Homes.

This £137m development will provide more affordable housing than is required by the local planning authority.

The hospital buildings at the site have been demolished and sports grounds, play areas and natural open space will be created.

The site has extensive history including being used as a military camp in World War Two and the site was occupied by the Royal Army Pay Corps until 1960.

From the 1960s to 2008 the site was used as an NHS hospital and a place used as a care home for people who suffered with mental illness.

Some of the buildings remained in use until 2014.

Our Executive Director of Development Nick Byrne said: “This is a huge development for us and it’s fantastic to be working with Vistry Partnerships on this scheme.

“This brownfield site has an extensive history and is well known in the area, so it is brilliant we have now started work on this development for 600 homes.

“The scheme will take eight years to complete and we are looking forward to bringing some much-needed homes to the area and creating community spaces too.”

James Warrington, Division Managing Director, Vistry Partnerships added: “We’re pleased to be working with Citizen again on another exciting housing development.

“The development will provide a range of new affordable homes, enhance the existing landscaping and boost economic growth in the area.

“We’re looking forward to see it develop over the next few years.”

This site is one of two sites that have been sold to Vistry Partnerships by Homes England.

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We’ve made Inside Housing’s top 50 Biggest Builders list

Posted on July 21st, 2020 by Laura Pickett

We have been named in the annual top 50 Biggest Builders list compiled by Inside Housing.

The survey ranks housing associations by the total number of completions in 2018/2019.

This year we were ranked at number 42 after completing 377 homes. Of these 174 were affordable rent and 84 were social rent. We invested £51.7m in these properties.

Our Executive Director of Development Nick Byrne said: “It’s fantastic news that we have made the top 50 in Inside Housing’s Biggest Builders list.

We are a Midlands based housing association and it’s great that our work is being recognised alongside other national builders in the top 50 who work across a larger area.

“We are committed to building more homes across the West Midlands so that we can give more people a foundation for life.”

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We have been shortlisted for two prestigious national awards

Posted on July 9th, 2020 by Elaine Davies

We have been shortlisted for two national awards.

Our Communications team have been nominated for the prestigious Communications Team of the Year at the Housing Heroes Awards.

The awards recognise the best teams in the sector and are run jointly by Inside Housing; the sector’s national magazine, and the professional body – the Chartered Institute of Housing.

The team makes the final after successfully leading an overhaul of our communications function alongside several major projects, including our rebrand to Citizen and the delivery of our all-staff conference.

In the same week our all-staff Citizen Conference 2020 has also been shortlisted for the Best Event category at the National Institute of Internal Communications Awards.

The conference was held at the Ricoh Arena in March and there was a huge jump in staff satisfaction with this year’s event.

Finalists in the same category include Virgin Media, Primark and other large corporations.

Our Head of Communications Steve Hayes said: “I’m so proud that the team has made the final of the Housing Heroes Awards.

“Our place at the final with other leading organisations from across the UK recognises a huge amount of hard work over the last 18 months.

“It’s fantastic news for Citizen that our Staff Conference 2020 has been shortlisted as best event at the IOIC award too.

“There was a real feel-good factor coming away from the event in March and when we surveyed staff there was a big jump in satisfaction compared to our conference in November 2018.

“We’re doubly pleased that this news follows so closely after our nomination for Communications Team of the Year.”

Due to coronavirus the Housing Heroes ceremony will take place virtually on September 10 as part of the Virtual Housing Festival.

The IOIC ceremony will be held virtually on September 25.

The full shortlist for Housing Heroes is available here and the shortlist for IOIC awards is available here.

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We are building more than 1,000 homes across the West Midlands in partnership with Vistry Partnerships

Posted on July 8th, 2020 by Elaine Davies

We are thrilled to be building more than 1,000 homes at four sites across the West Midlands with Vistry Partnerships.

The homes will be a mix of properties including affordable homes and outright sale.

A total of £194,407,90 will be invested in the developments.

The developments include:

Our Executive Director of Development Nick Byrne said: “It’s fantastic news that we are working with Vistry Partnerships to build more than 1,000 homes across the West Midlands.

“Housing is much needed across the county and we are really pleased to offer a variety of housing to suit different people.

“Each of these developments are individual and the makeup of each site reflects what each area needs. Work on the homes will transform the sites over the next few years.”

James Warrington, Divisional Managing Director at Vistry Partnerships, added: “We’ve had a great working relationship with Citizen at Hall Green and all of our team are excited to be working with them again on three new schemes, all of which hit site before the end of the year. A genuine partnership is being formed to deliver much needed new homes in the West Midlands.”

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Spon End blocks will be demolished and replaced with new homes as part of our regeneration project in Coventry

Posted on July 2nd, 2020 by Elaine Davies

Three blocks of flats in Spon End will be demolished and replaced with new homes as part of a major regeneration project.

Our plans will see Kerry House, Milestone House and Trafalgar House, which include 158 flats, replaced by a mix of new homes.

We first announced the regeneration project in September 2019. The plans to transform the existing buildings came after a survey of residents showed many wanted investment in the area to tackle issues like anti-social behavior and fly-tipping as well as improvements to homes.

The original plans would have seen significant works to the three blocks with new roofs, doors, windows, energy efficiency measures and improvements to security.

Extensive building surveys were carried out in empty flats in some of the blocks which showed another £4m would need to be invested to complete structural works to allow the buildings to withstand the improvements. This would still not guarantee the long-term life of the buildings or improve the thermal efficiency of the homes to make them warmer to meet today’s standards, which customers who lived in them said was a priority.

We have informed all residents in the blocks and will support them through a rehousing process over the next two years.

Our Chief Executive Kevin Rodgers said: “We are pleased to be able to move forward with our plans to transform Spon End.

“As a not-for-profit social housing provider, it is our duty to make investment decisions which benefit people in our communities in a responsible and sustainable way.

“This decision was not taken lightly but it became clear once we had completed the in-depth surveys of the buildings that this is the right way to move forward.

“We will start the rehousing process in September and will consult the community ahead of developing plans for the new homes in Spon End.

“We will work with our residents to minimise disruption to their lives and we will support them all the way through the rehousing process.”

Residents in Kerry House, Milestone House and Trafalgar House will be rehoused over the next two years. The community will be consulted to help to develop the plans for the new homes in Spon End. We then hope to start development in 2023 with completion in 2025.

The £21million regeneration of nearby Wyken, including the demolition of a tower block, the refurbishment of another and plans to build new houses in the area, is progressing as planned.

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