Government funding confirmed for Plymouth’s North Prospect regeneration project
A slice of government money is making its way towards North Prospect to help fund the final phase of the area’s regeneration.
It means Homes for the South West member, Plymouth Community Homes (PCH), is one step closer to completing the multi-million pound scheme, now in its final phase, and one of the biggest in the South West.
Earlier this year, in a meeting instigated by MP Johnny Mercer, Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, met with representatives from PCH and Plymouth City Council. This resulted in the Government committing £2.3m to the continuing regeneration of the area, started almost 10 years ago.
Plymouth City Council has confirmed it has now received the funds and it is anticipated that a further £3m+ will be available from Homes England for new homes being built after March 2022.
PCH has invested more than £100m into North Prospect and its partners from Plymouth City Council and Homes England have contributed around £25m.
Nick Jackson, PCH Director of Business Services and Development, said:
“We’re delighted the government has followed through on its promise to help fund the final phase of North Prospect.
“The intervention of MP Johnny Mercer and the continued support of Plymouth City Council have been crucial in this award.”
Johnny Mercer said: “I was delighted to go into bat for Plymouth Community Homes who have invested so much into Plymouth over the years. This iconic development embodies the transformation they have brought to the city. I’m so proud of them and I was only too happy to make this happen.”
The regeneration, which has been supported by the city council’s Plan for Homes, has been successful in delivering more than 1,000 homes for Plymouth people over the last ten years.
Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “I am delighted that we have finally got this money, after having it promised and then withdrawn. It has been a long and drawn out affair but we were ultimately successful thanks to a bit of good, old fashioned lobbying.”
While the new build phases have held the limelight, PCH has also structurally repaired and refurbished homes. The refurb programme, delivered by Mi-space, saw £15m invested into 300 homes. Cavity walls were repaired and stabilised, homes insulated to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel costs and tenants given the choice of new kitchens and bathrooms.
The regeneration has also brought about a host of wider benefits, including the Beacon Community Hub, an investment of £3.8m into a facility purpose built for the area.
There have also been improvements in people’s health and wellbeing, reductions in crime and a boost to employment prospects.
The new homes are now far more energy efficient, resulting in lower fuel costs and reduced carbon emissions.
Residents have enjoyed better physical and mental health outcomes as a result of living in homes that are easier and cheaper to maintain.
Local crime has fallen significantly since the project started, thanks in part to the scheme’s Secured by Design (SBD) accreditation.
SBD’s advice included creating safer spaces through greatly increasing natural surveillance. Streets were cleared of large mature trees and front garden hedges replaced by railings while high fences protect rear gardens.
Phase 3 resident Gina Reynolds said: “It’s very open around here – light and airy and not dark and there are no alleyways. It’s really homely. I feel happy and safe here.”
In 2015 North Prospect won the Inside Housing award for Best Regeneration Scheme against stiff national competition. The judges recognised the community involvement in the project and the transformation of the neighbourhood. That year also saw a VIP visit to North Prospect from the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, to view the progress so far.
In conjunction with Kier Living and City College Plymouth, PCH ran the North Prospect Training Academy, which saw learners gain experience of working on a real-life building site with subcontractors. Many went on to gain jobs afterwards.
Kier was PCH’s building partner on Phases 3 and 5, while Barratt Homes built the first two phases.
Vistry Partnerships, part of the Vistry Group, has begun demolition work on Phase 4, which will have 196 homes when complete. Work was halted during lockdown but has now resumed.