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Innovative Stoke scheme gets green light

Pyenest-Street---geographorguk

A ground-breaking partnership of Stoke-on-Trent City Council with a social property investor is to seek government funding to build 379 energy-efficient, rented homes on two brownfield sites in Stoke-on-Trent.

The regeneration scheme was given cabinet approval on 11 December, and is now in the five day call-in period for objections before full details of the investor and of scheme financing will be released. A masterplan, prepared after extensive consultation, is already in place.

The first site, with 226 apartments at Bucknall New Road, would partially replace a 1960s housing estate, with 155 low rise flats and maisonettes cleared to create a net gain of 224 high quality affordable homes. Plans for this site, based on extensive feedback by residents, include additional car parking, better waste management, landscaping and security. Three of the council’s high-rise blocks have also been refurbished, work that would continue at Wellington Court and Westwood Court, which would be converted into supported living accommodation. Some refurbishment of existing 1960s buildings has already been carried out.

The second development will now see 51 apartments and 62 houses on land that has been cleared of terraced housing at Pyenest Street. The site has been left in its current state since 2006 following clearance due to lack of funding to complete redevelopment under the Pathfinder programme.

Construction is likely to start within 12 months, once plans have been brought forward and after detailed consultations with residents over the development, demolition plans and over alternative accommodation.

Commenting on the scheme, Councillor 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.

"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."

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