Oldham housing PFI deal completes

Two years after winning the work, Regenter, Great Places Housing Group and Wates Living Space have signed the financial agreement with Oldham Council on a private finance initiative.

The PFI will see hundreds of homes built or refurbished in four neighbourhoods; Crossley, Fitton Hill, Westwood and Primrose Bank.

The initial phase of the project will involve the construction of 420 new social and private homes, the refurbishment of 318 existing council homes and the selective demolition of existing properties. There will be new public open spaces, improved car parking and community facilities.

Oldham Council received PFI credits worth £113m from the government towards the programme. Wates, Regenter and Great Places were selected as preferred developer in November 2009. Their consortium, called Inspiral, will deliver the ongoing neighbourhood and local area management, and repairs and maintenance services for the full duration of the 25-year contract. Construction is expected to start in early 2012, with the build programme expected to last until early 2015.

Regenter is the lead investor, developer and manager for the project. Great Places Housing Group is co-investor and developer and will provide neighbourhood and estates management services whilst Wates Living Space will be responsible for the building and refurbishment work and will also run the repairs contract.

Jim Saunders, managing director of Regenter, said: "This is a hugely important project which will provide new and improved housing, open spaces and community facilities. As project sponsor, Regenter is very proud to invest in the delivery of successful and sustainable local communities in Oldham."

Regenter is a joint venture between John Laing and Pinnacle Regeneration Group, and has offices in Trafford Park and London.

Stephen Porter, chief executive of Great Places Housing Group, said: "This news is fantastic for the people of Oldham and brings us one step closer to providing much-needed new and affordable homes."

Ian Burnett, managing director for Wates Living Space, said: "We look forward to working alongside the local community to deliver not just new and refurbished homes, but training and employment opportunities for local people."

The construction partner in the consortium was originally Rok but had to be replaced following its collapse. Wates filled the void.

Cllr David Hibbert, Oldham Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: "This project is about more than just bricks and mortar. It is about creating new communities with a reinvigorated spirit and a renewed sense of pride. As well as new homes, two new purpose-built community centres will also be provided on the Crossley and Primrose Bank estates, and new retail units developed at Crossley. These neighbourhoods will also see the provision of new park and open spaces for the enjoyment of residents. In the near future, there will also be new opportunities for local residents to seek construction jobs and training places."

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Would be nice to know who the architects are that the consortium are working with. Design quality is so important to the success of these schemes. Housing PFI schemes are a challenging brief for architects, both in terms achieving quality design and engaging positively with both resident and PFI stakeholders. Hope they’ve employed a decent firm and allowed them scope to properly influence both design throughout the process.


OMI Architects, Taylor Young, Stockley, Camlin Lonsdale, Clancy Consulting, and Capita

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