Regeneration for Byker estate
FUNDING AGREEMENT SECURES 10-YEAR REGENERATION FOR BYKER ESTATE
Newcastle’s iconic Byker Estate is to undergo a massive facelift after a £26m loan facility was secured to carry out the work there.
The deal was struck between the Byker Community Trust which owns and manages it and the Yorkshire Building Society.
In 2012, Newcastle City Council transferred ownership of its 1,800 homes, commercial properties and land to the Trust.
The Grade II* listed building was designed by architect Ralph Erskine and built from 1969 to 1982.
At the time of transfer, the BCT secured a £12m loan facility from the YBS towards a planned £26.5m capital investment programme to deliver improvements to the estate.
Now the loan facility has been renegotiated with the lender at a better interest rate, allowing the Trust to borrow up to £26m for 10 years from this month.
Jill Haley, Chief Executive of the BCT, said: “When residents voted to transfer ownership and management responsibilities to the BCT in 2011, they did so on the basis of a promise which was made to them to breathe new life into the estate through a comprehensive programme of regeneration.
“Through this funding deal, we can continue to deliver on that promise in the years ahead.”
Improvements already carried out includes award winning Avondale House, a sheltered housing scheme for older people, being converted into a home for armed forces veterans. Meanwhile, a former social services home, Chirton House, has been transformed into a new apartment complex for the over 50s and is expected to be unveiled in spring 2015.
In April this year, work began on a £9.5m refurbishment of the Byker Wall, the 400-home housing block which forms the centrepiece of the estate. Work has also started on a major programme of works to upgrade the Byker District Heating System to make it a more efficient and reliable service.
Annette Patten, Vice Chair and Tenant Board Member of BCT, said: “Byker is one of the best known social housing estates in the country.
“At the time it was built, it was seen as a model for how future housing estates could be with an innovative approach which involved the local community in how it would be designed.
“However, within a few decades it had fallen on hard times and by the end of the last century its best days seemed behind it.
“Since the BCT took over responsibility for the estate, the fortunes of Byker have begun to turn around. True to their promise, Byker is once again becoming a place people want to live and work.”