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David's visit is 'big business'

Davidorrvisit David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, 'the voice of affordable housing in England', visited some of our homes in Manningham on Tuesday.

We have spent over £7M in the last three years renovating over 150 homes and we are nearing the completion of our investment programme with the redevelopment of the former residential hospice of St Catherine’s into 16 affordable new homes at a further cost of £1.8M.

David Orr was joined by the Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Khadim Hussain, Chair Gwyneth Sarkar and Chief Executive Gordon Perry for the visit which included St Catherine's and other homes nearby.

Later, David returned to Jeremy Downs House to officially launch our new business plan, in which we commit to invest £320M in our existing homes over the next six years and build 500 new homes which residents are proud to live in.

We have been improving these homes since 2011. Most of them are Victorian houses which were converted into one and two bedroom flats in the 1980s to meet the needs of the local community at the time. In planning the refurbishment, it became clear that there was an urgent need for good quality family housing, so we de-converted the flats back into family homes updated to modern standards. The improvements include new doors, windows, heating systems, electrical, kitchens and bathrooms. Every home has also been re-roofed and insulated to help reduce running costs.

The most concentrated area of work was in Blenheim Road where 59 homes were refurbished as flats and 29 flats were de-converted into nine large family houses and two maisonettes.

Since making the improvements, we have seen an increase in demand for the homes. The presence of new families is also creating a more stabilised community.

The 16 homes at St Catherine’s will be a mix of two, three and four bedroom houses and two, three and four bedroom apartments. Work is due to complete in the summer.

Speaking of his visit, David Orr said: "I'm really impressed. the great thing about converting a building like this is that it creates brilliant homes. People are going to walk through the door and get the wow factor. The project has also started a process of regeneration around the building which is a really positive knock on effect. Doing something like this has had a real impact on the community, which is great."

Gordon comments: "We are delighted to welcome David Orr to Manningham and have the opportunity to show him, and the Lord Mayor of Bradford, our £7M investment into Manningham. Throughout the planning stage and the actual improvements, we have worked closely with the residents and our partners on the project to ensure we provide the best quality of homes, with the best modern designs.”

“A home is about much more than a roof and four walls. It’s about security, neighbourhood, community and choice. We want to deliver services that are second to none and for Accent to be a landlord of choice with our residents at our heart. To achieve this, our main focus will be on our existing homes, residents and communities. We will not just build new homes, something that seems to be the focus of so many other housing providers.”

“Manningham is in a prime location in the city of Bradford with excellent local facilities and transport links, but its reputation has suffered in recent years. It is now transforming back into a vibrant community and we are looking forward to continuing to play our part in that future. In acknowledging the support of our partners, I would particularly like to thank Bradford Metropolitan District Council.”