Multi-million investment sows seeds for sustainable communities

Caption: (L-R) Sean Corcoran, Keepmoat Regional Operation Manager, Cllr Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council's director of environment and housing Neil Evans with Mary Brennan and Jean Copley, members of the Cross Green Community Group, check progress on works to improve homes.

Cllr Peter Gruen with Jean Copley (left) and Mary Brennan at the community garden.

At the half way point of a three year housing and community investment programme, real benefits are being felt by people living in east Leeds.

Council and privately owned homes in Cross Green and the Nevilles have been targeted as part of the £9 million Sustainable Communities Improvement Programme (SCIP) to make properties warmer and healthier alongside projects to make the community a more attractive place to live.

With roofs, doors and windows being replaced and external insulation being installed, residents in up to 220 houses will enjoy warmer, draught-proof and cheaper to heat homes.

Entire streets look better having benefitted from boundary wall improvements, new pointing, guttering and drainpipes.

New homes built by Chevin Housing Association have been designed to complement the look of the traditional terraced housing which also helps to improve the look of the area.

The contractor on site – Keepmoat – has been busy supporting the local community by helping residents apply for small grants from a community fund to deal with local priorities.

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and personnel, said:

“Partnership working is really paying off. By taking a whole street approach, regardless of whether homes are council or privately owned, we’ve not just upgraded the fabric of these buildings or the look and feel of the streets, we’ve improved the quality of people’s lives.

“It’s important that these changes are long lasting, that’s why it’s especially encouraging to see local people working on the community fund, determining their own spending priorities and addressing their own local issues.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for cleaner, stronger and safer communities, said:

“Warmer homes are healthier homes, so by making these houses easier and more affordable to heat, we can have a really positive impact of the health of residents.

“The combination of partnership working, physical changes to the buildings, advice given on energy efficiency and improvements to streets and green spaces are the essential ingredients to creating truly sustainable communities.”

Jean Copley, chair of the Cross Green Community Group, said:

“It’s great to see improvements happening and encourages residents to get involved. We’re really pleased with the way everyone has pulled together to work on our food growing and lunch club activities. The willing help from contractors and Leeds City Council teams working here has been a bonus and the good news stories show our area in a great light.”

Sean Corcoran, Keepmoats’ Regional Operation Manager, said:

“Keepmoat embrace the Group Repairs culture. The work we are carrying out in Cross Green will not only improve the wellbeing of residents in their homes but will improve the overall look of the neighbourhood and also support the local community groups to continue their good work. The improvement work includes enhanced thermal insulation to homes, external fabric uplifts such as new windows and doors and new boundary walls and fencing.”

Funding for the programme has come from Leeds City Council and the government’s Green Deal scheme, the Energy Company Obligation as well as private contributions.

Other improvements in the area include new garden plots, better parking in Osmondthorpe Lane; complementary funding from the council’s community committee has allowed traffic management improvements to be made as well as the welcome addition of a wildflower area.

Over the remainder of the three year programme, improvements still to be to be made include: better fencing and parking in Neville Garth, Approach and Close; consultation on a new highways scheme in Cross Green in early 2015; improvements to make the area look more attractive on approach and installing children’s activity equipment.

For media enquiries please contact:

Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577

email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk