The first homes have been handed over to whg customers in Walsall as a major regeneration scheme reaches a significant milestone.
Keys to 27 newly built homes on the £45 million Waters Keep estate have now been given to local families just in time for Christmas.
And partners including Walsall Council, developer Keepmoat, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) joined whg on site yesterday (November 25th) to celebrate the occasion.
The much anticipated development forms the second phase of the £88 million drive to regenerate the Goscote Lane Corridor.
By March 2018 Waters Keep will offer a total of 177 homes for affordable rent from whg and a further 235 for open market sale by developer Keepmoat.
Hannah Devine has just moved into a three bedroom home on the estate with husband Karl and three children Meghan, aged seven, Isabella, five, and one-year-old Kobi.
"We are thrilled with our new home and so excited to have moved to this up and coming area just in time for Christmas,” she said.
"We were already whg customers but were living in Rushall when we decided to bid for one of the new homes on Waters Keep. There has been a lot of investment, it is a desirable place to live, and the houses looked great.
"We were lucky enough to be successful and we are now looking forward to bringing up our family here.”
The Waters Keep development is just part of whg’s wider vision for the Goscote Lane Corridor, which will see more than 700 new, energy-efficient homes created, along with improved infrastructure and environment. The new homes for rent and sale will meet a range of needs including family housing, and create a friendly, welcoming and sustainable new community.
Development of the scheme has also created job and supplier opportunities for this part of Walsall.
Carole Wildman, Corporate Director – Growth at whg, said: "Being able to present customers with the keys to their brand new homes represents a key milestone in our work.
"This is not just about bricks and mortar – it is about creating a community where people are proud to live, work and play. We are improving the quality of life for local residents.”
She added: "The regeneration of the Goscote Lane Corridor is vital to Walsall’s growth and a major part of whg’s plans to deliver great homes and transform the quality of life in our neighbourhoods.
"We have listened to local people and taken on board what they want and need from a regeneration scheme. It is important that residents with all kinds of housing needs benefit from the investment.”
The new homes will be available in stages, with all properties completed by July 2020. The latest key handover follows the completion of phase one of the regeneration scheme in March this year when 29 families moved into their new homes in Goscote.
The regeneration of the Goscote Lane Corridor is the largest residential development scheme in the borough and a leading example of successful partnership work.
By the time the regeneration work is completed, whg will have invested more than £42 million building new homes in the area, including £19 million on the Waters Keep Estate alone. The impressive sum makes this whg’s largest ever regeneration project.
A further £2.66 million comes from the Homes and Communities Agency, part of the £12.3 million secured by whg under the Government’s Affordable Homes Programme 2015-18.
The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership has also provided £8.82 million through the Local Growth Fund towards environmental improvements in the regeneration area and delivery of new homes in phase three of the scheme.
Councillor Adrian Andrew, Walsall Council Deputy Leader, said: "This is a fantastic achievement for the local area and for whg, which has been working in partnership with the Council to provide new homes and improve the environment for the existing community.”
Christine Addison, Executive Director for the Midlands for the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), said: "The HCA is very pleased to be supporting this scheme. We have worked closely with whg and the Council to see this strategic priority for Walsall come forward to deliver much needed affordable homes for the local community in Goscote, as part of wider funding we are providing for a number of regeneration projects in this area.”
Paul Degg, Keepmoat Regional Managing Director, said: "Working in partnership with whg, we are proud to be contributing to the regeneration of the Goscote Lane Corridor through the provision of affordable new homes for local residents.
"Once complete, I believe Waters Keep will become a desirable, vibrant community for people to enjoy for many years.”
Stewart Towe, Chair of Black Country LEP, added: "We are delighted to stand alongside partners at what is a significant moment for the new Waters Keep estate, which is seeing the regeneration of the Goscote Lane Corridor become a reality.
"This fantastic project, which will see families move into new homes ahead of Christmas, brings us closer to achieving our target of creating 1,400 new homes and at least 5,000 new jobs in the Black Country through our ambitious Growth Deal. The scale of our Growth Deal is a vote of continued and growing confidence in the Black Country’s economic future.”