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Regeneration for Byker estate

10-year funding agreement


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.”



Byker Pupils

Christmas card designs


Creative school children have been getting into the Christmas spirit by helping a North East housing association to design their company Christmas card.

Pupils from St. Lawrence Primary School in Byker were invited by the Byker Community Trust (BCT) to draw or paint a picture that could be used on the front cover of their card this year and also on the front cover of Byker News, the BCT’s tenants’ newsletter.

The invitation was open to the whole school with winners selected from each year group receiving an extra special Christmas present from the BCT.

The judges were very impressed with the quality of the designs but 10 year old Lucia Benedetti from year five was the overall winner with her colourful drawing of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

Staff from the BCT made a special visit to school assembly this week to present prizes to all winners. David Jones, Head of Engagement and Community Development from the BCT, said: “We are always keen to work with the local community and thought it would be a great idea to involve all the pupils to design our corporate Christmas card.

“The children did a fantastic job and we were very impressed with the high calibre of designs and entries from all year groups. It was a very difficult decision to pick an overall winner because they were all good but Lucia’s drawing was just perfect and I would like to thank all the children who took the time to create their designs and to the teachers of St. Lawrence’s who helped us with the competition.”

Paul Brown, Headmaster at St Lawrence’s Primary School, said: “We were honoured to be asked to take part in the competition and I know that all of the children thoroughly enjoyed taking part. The children put their heart and soul into it as they always do. We would like to thank the Byker Community Trust for working with us on this project and look forward to continuing this partnership in future.”

The winners from each year group were Rafal Bien (reception), Maddison Turnbull (year one), Alicia Watson (year two), Daniel Sadi (year three), Wadik Mahder (year four) and Jenna Banks (year six).

The BCT owns and manages 1,800 homes on the Byker Estate and is carrying out a major regeneration programme of improvements to create high quality sustainable housing in Byker.


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