Residents’ views will form the heart of ambitious neighbourhood plans for two Newcastle-under-Lyme communities – kicking off with a public consultation meeting this week.
Aspire Housing rents around 8,500 homes in North Staffordshire, including nearly 900 in the Poolfields and Crackley areas.
The housing association is developing neighbourhood plans to ensure that key local services are in place so that Poolfields and Crackley remain sustainable areas – and residents are invited to shape the improvements to their areas.
Aspire is starting the process by asking residents in Poolfields to drop in to the Harriet Higgins Community Centre, on Rotterdam Road, between noon and 7pm on Thursday (27 January), to outline what improvements they would like in their neighbourhood.
Similar drop-in sessions are held at the Children’s Centre in Crackley Bank every second Thursday from 2.30pm to 3.30pm, with the next on Thursday 3rd February. The views of Crackley residents have also been sought through the Residents’ Association.
Caroline Baggaley, Aspire’s Head of Housing, said: “We have researched local areas in some detail and have specifically targeted those neighbourhoods that are in need of improved services.
“But we are not going in with a blueprint and saying: ‘This is what we are going to do’. For us it’s about working out what Aspire can do to help the community to deal with the local issues and concerns that it identifies.
“This support could be anything from providing access to money advice, employment and skills training, to simply improving the look of the area.
“So we are asking residents to come to the Harriet Higgins Community Centre on Thursday and tell us what issues there are in Poolfields, and what would they like to see in their community. We’re open to all ideas both here, and in Crackley.”
Once public consultation is complete, the residents’ opinions will feed into neighbourhood plans, which will outline what service improvements are required in each community. Aspire will then manage the delivery of these plans, alongside key partners.
This approach will complement the Newcastle Partnership’s Locality Action Plans, already in place and aimed at improving the quality of life for local communities in the borough.
Aspire Housing rents 370 homes of the 1,000 properties in the Poolfields area and 517 in Crackley neighbourhood, which totals around 2,630 properties.