London & South East

New social housing creates 'lottery feeling'

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Tenants moving into new affordable housing in various areas of the London Borough of Croydon could be forgiven for thinking they have won the lottery due to the high standards achieved in each of the finished developments.

Croydon Council is part way through completing a major drive to build new council houses in various parts of the borough in a bid to provide existing tenants with the new 21st century living; re-using brown field sites, and tackling its housing waiting list.

As part of that initiative, the council has commissioned four contractors – Breyer Group, Mansells, Osbornes and Mulalleys – to deliver a mix of over 100 three and four-bed family houses, maisonettes, flats and bungalows. All Access Ltd supplied the scaffolding

These are all built to high Government housing standards, offer eco-friendly initiatives and seek to solve over-crowding issues in the current housing stock.

Many were built in New Addington and Fieldway, on previously dilapidated brown-field sites such as former garage blocks that were unused, vandalised and had become an eyesore.

Tenants have just moved into the 64 homes that were built as part of the second phase of the council’s house-building programme.

C&G Plastering undertook all the external rendering, internal partitions, plaster board installations, plastering and floor screeding

In Thorpe Close, New Addington, –  for which contractor Mansell was responsible – six three-bedroom houses have been built on the site of a disused and abandoned block of garages that had become an unsightly mess for the people who lived nearby.

All of the three-storey homes were built to level five standard of the Government’s code for sustainable homes and are fitted with solar panels and low-energy heating systems that mean tenants will save money and the buildings will have a low carbon footprint.

According to the council, the green technology and insulation included in the homes is so advanced that tenants could potentially have no energy bills if used correctly.

Mansell also completed further new homes in King Henry’s Drive.

The Breyer Group has delivered four experimental bungalows inGorse Road, Shirley, which will be offered to tenants who are living in larger family homes that could be put to better use.

In addition, Breyer Group has built or are in the course of finishing a mix of family homes, flats and bungalows inWingate Crescent,Shrublands Avenue,Tedder Road, MilfordGardens,Regina Road,Wontford Road,QueenElizabethGardensandSelsdon Park Road.

Mulalleys  have built homes for the council inTilford Avenueand Alwyn Close, as well as refurbishing and fitting a total of 3,000 kitchen units across Croydon’s council housing stock.

Mr Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central, said: “Many of the people who contact me asking for help are living in overcrowded or otherwise unsatisfactory accommodation so it is great to see that Croydon Council is getting on with doing something about it by building new council homes – and homes that have the lowest possible impact on the environment to boot.”

CouncillorDudley Mead, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “There is a recognised shortage of housing in everyLondonborough but Croydon is delivering a house-building programme, to ease the problem.

“The new homes that we have just delivered will provide accommodation for families on our waiting list, many of whom will be living in overcrowded conditions. There are over 5,000 on our waiting lists but by building our own homes, we are trying to make a real difference for families.

“Many who have moved into their new homes have spoken of their delight at the standard of construction and have acknowledged that to them, it was like winning the lottery.”

He added: “We know we’re the first council in London to build level five homes and I suspect we’re the first in the country.”

The homes’ completion comes two years after the first phase of new council homes in Sumner Gardens was opened. They won a national architectural award and also have a range of environmental fittings that help reduce their carbon footprint and drastically reduce energy use.

Governors, staff and local residents were involved in the consultation for the design of the new building to ensure that it provides the best opportunities for pupils in the future.

The next phase of the work will see the demolition of the existing junior school building to create an external learning and play environment incorporating a Multi Use Games Area. In conjunction with this, the existing infant school will be remodelled as the permanent kitchen and dining facility for the Community school.

All the works have been carried out with the school in use.

The works commenced in November 2008 and are due to be completed at the end of 2011.

The Apollo Group is one of the largest providers of property services in the UK, operating for both public and private clients within the housing, education and the public and commercial sectors.

Apollo’s projects range from major social housing regeneration schemes through to the delivery of fast track school improvement works and the construction of new educational facilities, as well as facilities for health and leisure and the emergency services.

The business employs 890 people and its annual turnover level is approaching £300 million.

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