|5 minutes read time
Estates refresh restores pride in Hartlepool communities
Steve Heywood, media manager
Two Hartlepool estates troubled by anti-social behaviour and homes in need of updating have been turned around after a major regeneration project.
Customers in Clarence and West View estates in the town have had their pride restored in their estates.
Customer Jennifer Thornton has been living in the Clarence and West View estates for more than 25 years and has seen the changes first hand.
She said: “It has changed over the years. There was once a waiting list [for people to live here] but then things got worse. We had periods of people wanting to move out.”
Those periods of people wanting to move out led to a high level of empty properties on the estates, encouraging anti-social behaviour and reducing the overall quality and appearance of the area.
Identifying it as an underperforming area, housing association Home Group have since undertaken a major estate regeneration project which has included repurposing empty 3-bed properties, reintroducing a visible presence on the estate, and working with partners to tackle the anti-social behaviour.
John Brunetti, Operations Manager at Home Group, said: “This investment has delivered a choice of housing to the residents of Hartlepool with a real focus on affordability, safety and security, and sustainability.
“We’ve introduced a bigger presence of Home Group colleagues out in the community, and customers tell us we have listened and worked with them to address issues on the estates.
“Working together has meant we could deliver safer communities and better quality housing for Hartlepool.”
Work included putting in new doors, windows, and roofing on many of the properties, as well as installing new kitchens and other key amenities to help modernise customers’ homes.
With the empty three-bed houses, there was very little demand in the area while the demand for one and two-bed homes remained high.
As such, Home Group stripped out these empty properties and converted them into new 1- and 2-bed properties. In total, they were able to turn 25 empty, difficult to lease properties into 42 one bedroom flats and 7 two bedroom flats.
The conversions were delivered through the Government’s 'Move On' fund, which supports people in desperate need of housing and helps them to make an easier transition back into the community.
It includes people who’ve been made homeless, suffered relationship breakdowns, fleeing domestic violence, as well as young people leaving home or care.
One of the vacant properties was converted into a new Community Hub, which has allowed both Home Group and other partners – including the police, social services and support agencies – to meet and hold sessions for customers.
Jennifer added: “The work putting in new windows, doors and roofs has made a big difference. People are pleased to move back.
“They’re taking pride in the area again.”
The regeneration project has led to a 35% reduction in reports of anti-social behaviour; reduction in complaints; regular drop-in sessions for customers, and the setting up of a focus group.
It has also led to improved relationships with community police, social service and Hartlepool Council housing team.