Friday, 21 October 2011

Contractor announced for long-awaited regeneration scheme

A massive regeneration scheme in Leeds is one step closer after the Government gave its long-awaited approval for the project to move forward.

The £180m Housing PFI Project to revitalise the neighbourhoods of Little London, Beeston Hill & Holbeck has been subject to a government Value for Money review in recent months. However the Treasury has now given the go-ahead for the scheme, enabling the council to appoint their “preferred bidder” to carry out the work.

The regeneration consortium Sustainable Communities for Leeds (sc4L) has come out on top in its bid to carry out the work on this major housing regeneration project.

The council will now work with sc4L to finalise its proposals for this major scheme, which include 388 new council properties, the refurbishment of over 1200 existing council homes as well as environmental improvements. It is expected that the Government will give the go-ahead to sign the contract early in the new year, enabling work to start on site in Spring 2012.

Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“This is a massive project for the city, representing investment of £180m in deprived inner city areas, so it is a huge relief that the government have finally given us the go ahead. We always had faith that this was a very strong project, which has made the hold ups all the more difficult to accept.

“It is tremendous that we are now in a position to move forward. Hopefully this will bring an end to the uncertainty for the communities involved. We had hoped to start work this summer, so everyone connected with this scheme can’t wait to get started. Hopefully over the next few months people living nearby should start to see things happening on site.”

Cllr Peter Gruen, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council and executive board member for neighbourhoods, housing and regeneration, said:
“This is an exciting moment and is the result of years of dedicated work by many people to get us to this stage. The delays in achieving final government approval for this project have been incredibly frustrating for us all, not least the residents of Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck. These hold ups have also been very costly, but it is great to finally have some certainty that enables us to get on and make things happen.

“This is a huge landmark on a project set to transform these communities as well as provide opportunities for jobs and further investment in key regeneration areas.”

The 20 year Housing PFI contract also includes a repairs and maintenance service for new build and refurbished council homes and estate areas within the project areas.

The consortium’s plans will help create sustainable communities in Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck. Designs for the new council homes and refurbishment schemes will meet high standards of energy efficiency and estate areas will be improved including better outdoors areas, and walking and cycling routes.

The community has been involved in the development of sc4L’s proposals and the consortium will continue to talk to local residents as the project moves forward..

Naz Parkar, head of area for the Homes and Communities Agency said:
“This funding announcement is excellent news and enables Leeds City Council to deliver much needed renewal and regeneration in these communities. By providing almost 400 new homes alongside 1,200 refurbishments this project will give local people the choice of home they want, at a price they can afford in their local neighbourhood.”

Commenting on the appointment, Derek Anderson, Project Director for Sustainable Communities 4 Leeds (sc4L), said:
“sc4L are delighted to have been named preferred bidder for the Little London, Beeston Hill & Holbeck PFI project. We look forward to working with Leeds City Council to achieve financial close and thereafter see the successful delivery of a project that will help rejuvenate local communities.”


Notes for editors

The Regeneration of Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck

Leeds City Council is making a major contribution to the regeneration of Little London, Beeston Hill & Holbeck through a housing Private Finance Initiative (PFI) project. The Council has been allocated PFI credits by the government and has undertaken a detailed procurement exercise to be able to select a suitable contractor to undertake the proposed programme of works.

The PFI contract with the private sector will be for the refurbishment of council properties, construction of new council homes, some environmental improvements and maintenance of all elements over a 20 year period. The PFI regeneration project contributes to the wider regeneration plans for Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck.

About sc4L
Sustainable Communities 4 Leeds (sc4L) is a PFI consortium comprising Cyril Sweett Investments Ltd (a part of Cyril Sweett Group plc), Keepmoat Investments Ltd (a part of Keepmoat Limited) and Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets The consortium partners have knowledge and experience of working with local authorities and residents to deliver high-quality, sustainable housing and social infrastructure projects.

Local housing regeneration specialists, Frank Haslam Milan (part of Keepmoat Limited) – with previous experience of working on refurbishment projects for Leeds City Council – will be the new-build and refurbishment contractor for the project. Together with Milnerbuild (also part of Keepmoat Limited) Frank Haslam Milan will also be providing on-going maintenance services throughout the 20 year contract period.



Ends

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Future of the West Park Centre to be discussed

As part of looking at the future of the former West Park Girls High School building there will be a drop in session held on site next week.

On Monday 24 October officers from Leeds City Council will be in the foyer area of the West Park Centre between 5pm and 7.30pm to answer any questions people have about the building and it’s future.

The council’s executive board agreed in June 2011 that an ‘options appraisal’ be carried out on the building to determine what route forward could be taken.

The drop in event will allow people to discuss the options that are available to the site which include;

• The whole site remains open and is marketed out as a useable space.
• The site is brought back into use as a school
• Partial demolition of the site
• Demolition of the whole centre with some alternative community provision
• Demolition of the whole centre

There will be a longer consultation period which will result in a report going to executive board in January 2012.

Councillor Javaid Akhtar , chair of the inner north west area committee, said:

“It is important that local people, and the people using this site have a say in what happens in the future.

“There are four options for the site, and this drop in event will give us a good gauge of public opinion, and how this will feed in to the overall options appraisal.

“I would encourage anyone locally who would like to make their voice heard to come along to the event next Monday.”

Notes to editors:

The West Park Centre is the former West Park Girls High School building. It was built in 1951 and the school closed in 1989. It has since been used for a variety of purposes including being home to the Northern Ballet who moved out at the end of 2010. The main user of the centre is now Artforms which is Leeds City Council’s musical education service. It is also a base for a variety of mainly music and arts based organisations and is used by the local community.

The option appraisal is for the area of the West Park Centre which is occupied by buildings and hard standing. There is no intention or proposal for ay changes in the use of the playing fields or open space.