Community groups are joining Aspire Housing and Stoke-on-Trent City Council on Tuesday 1 October to celebrate the completion of an £8.4m, three-year regeneration project to transform Ingestre Square in Blurton, Stoke-on-Trent.
The project has seen old and worn out shops and flats swept away and replaced by 41 new high quality homes for local people, 6 new shop units and a purpose built eco-friendly community hub.
Lord Mayor Sheila Pitt will be joining the celebrations to unveil a plaque and make a tour of the new development.
The redevelopment is the culmination of a community led consultation in 2005 which planned how to improve the run down area.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Aspire Housing have worked together to bring the dream to fruition, with the support and backing of the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency.
The city council provided £4million and the site, the HCA provided £1.7m and £2.7m came from Aspire, who oversaw the project and now own and manage the affordable homes for rent and shared ownership.
The development has been delivered for the partners by Kier Partnership Homes.
Aspire’s new homes comprise 22 x 2 bedroom flats, 11 x 3 bedroom houses and 8 x 4 bedroom houses for affordable rent and shared ownership.
The council owns the shops and the community hub; which has been developed with solar panels, under floor heating and other energy saving environmental features, including a community garden.
The local community manages the Hub and hosts events and activities, including: the WRVS, Helping Angels, “The Kids Club”, the Staffordshire Credit Union, Strathmore College, library, a youth club and various dance and keep fit groups. The centre is also used for IT courses and a jobs club.
The Hub also has meeting rooms and office space for hire.
The project is topped off with carefully designed landscaping and car parking to upgrade the local environment and improve access for all.
City Council Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Communities Janine Bridges said the project had put the community and their views centre stage.
“The community have been involved in planning this development from the very start and it’s very exciting to see their dreams and aspirations unveiled.
“This is all about the whole community working together and the housing, shops and the community centre are all essential parts of rebuilding the area. Aspire and the HCA have been brilliant,” she said.
Wayne Hughes, managing director of Aspire Housing, said: “We are proud of what we have achieved together in Blurton.
“By providing new homes, new shops and a new community centre the Blurton community has become an even better and more attractive place to live.”
Nick Rees, HCA Area Manager Birmingham, Staffordshire & Black Country said: “Several years of effort have come together to provide much needed facilities for Blurton and we are thrilled to be backing this community led redevelopment.”
Chris King, manager director, Kier Partnership Homes, said: “The project has been both challenging and exciting to work on with our partners Stoke on Trent City Council and Aspire Housing and we are delighted with the end results.
“We have seen a previously neglected neighbourhood begin to come to life with a new community building, shops and facilities and much needed high quality new affordable homes, all of which underlines just what can be achieved with vision, commitment and financial investment.”
Joan Bell, chair of Blurton Community Hub Management Committee, said: “The Blurton Hub has been a great success and we have more than 40 volunteers working with us. People in Blurton have such a strong community spirit that they have really made it work.”