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Apr 05 2013

New era for Harrow Homes

harrow_council_logo2It is out with the old and in with the new at Mill Farm Close in Pinner, as the Council and its partners gathered to mark the demolition of four blocks of flats, which are soon to be replaced.

Mayor Cllr Nizam Ismail, Council Leader Cllr Thaya Idaikkadar, and Portfolio Holder for Housing Cllr Bob Currie, joined representatives from housing association Catalyst, and construction firm Higgins, to celebrate the landmark moment on the estate, which is being redeveloped as part of a partnership between the Council and Catalyst. They got to see the demolition in progress and were given a tour of one of the completed homes. The Mayor asked questions about the development and thanked all staff and residents for their commitment to the plans, which will see much-needed new and upgraded homes delivered.

The £22 million pound regeneration will see 158 new homes built, including the provision of much needed family houses, as well as new flats. This includes new social rented homes for existing tenants living on the estate as well as some additional homes to be let to households on the Council’s Housing Register, shared ownership properties and homes for private sale.

The first batch of homes – 56 units for social rent for existing tenants, 14 for market sale and three for existing leaseholders – was completed last year.

The demolition paves the way for phase two. Four blocks in total are being dismantled to make way for brand new properties. There will be three phases in total, with final completion expected in 2015.

Mill Farm Close was originally made up of 110 flats – 86 homes for Council tenants and 24 owned by leaseholders. The flats were spread between seven blocks, which needed to be brought up to decent homes standard. There were also a lot of small flats (one beds and bedsits) whilst many families were overcrowded.

Catalyst was selected as the Council’s preferred partner and Mill Farm Close was transferred to them in April 2010. Works by contractor partner Higgins Construction began in September 2010.

Cllr Currie said: “This demolition marks the start of a new stage in this community’s journey. This project will breathe new life into Mill Farm Close and provide the quality homes that tenants and residents deserve. We are grateful to Catalyst for working so closely with us to develop these plans and to Higgins, who have done a brilliant job on site so far. Also to the existing residents and tenants, who have been involved every step of the way and have been so committed and enthusiastic about rejuvenating their community.”

Cllr Idaikkadar said: “With the demand for housing on the rise, it is excellent that we are available to provide these new homes. Availability is low, so this development will go a long way to offering housing to those who need it in our borough.”

Residents have helped shape the design of the estate from the very beginning and tenants have chosen wall colours, floor coverings and kitchen units for their new homes, as well as having a choice of the location of their new home where possible. As well as being high quality, the new homes are also highly energy efficient and sustainable – a huge improvement on the poorly insulated homes that are being demolished and should mean lower fuel costs for tenants.

There will also be improved green spaces on the site, as well as new infrastructure and utility services. The development has also involved 12 apprenticeship opportunities, which have largely been filled by Mill Farm Close tenants.

The architect for the plans was Pollard Thomas Edwards.

Julia Moulder, Director of Development at Catalyst, said: “Catalyst are delighted that the first phase of the regeneration of Mill Farm Close has been successfully completed. Catalyst took transfer of the Estate in 2010, and, with the full and active support of Harrow Council, and in partnership with Higgins Construction, we have worked with residents to design and develop their new homes and neighbourhood. I am pleased to see the first 56 families moving into their new homes and to welcome the 12 new families who have purchased a new home at Mill Farm. Demolition of these four blocks marks the start of the second phase of the regeneration delivery, which will provide additional good quality homes for another 30 local families.”

Source: Harrow Council

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