Joint working between two of the Borders’ social housing providers has led to approval being granted by The Scottish Government for regeneration and improvement works at Stonefield, Hawick. The area contains 25 low-rise blocks of 205 flats.
Following initial works in Stonefield in 2009, a business case was submitted to The Scottish Government in 2010 which proposed the transfer of empty homes between the two housing providers to allow completed blocks to have separate housing provider ownership and allow regeneration programmes to be managed by that housing provider block by block. The approval for this transfer of assets was received in November 2011.
Julia Mulloy, Chief Executive SBHA comments “It has taken a number of partners to get to this stage, not just the joint working and planning of Waverley and SBHA, but also practical solutions through funding and support from Scottish Borders Council.
We are delighted to be meeting with residents of Stonefield to share the good news and both providers will be investing to ensure all homes exceed the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by 2015. SHBA will be investing in the region of £5million in upgrading SBHA homes over the next 3 years. Tenants will have works carried out which will mean their improved home will be less costly to heat and will be updated throughout to include new bathrooms and kitchens. We plan to replace part of the estate with new homes, thereby providing modern housing solutions, for the town. We expect the whole project to deliver a boost to the supply of good quality housing in Hawick and we will maximise the training and employment opportunities for young people in commissioning the work “
Margaret Ross, Chief Executive for Waverley Housing went on to stress that “for some residents there may be concerns and worries about the upheaval of possibly moving home or temporarily decanting from their current property (if works require such). Staff will be working with the community every step of the way, speaking to every resident within the blocks, and taking account of their needs and requirements in the planning and implementation process.
She added “we plan to provide residents with a key member of Staff who will be their contact throughout the programme and ensure that they are effectively communicated with, and any concerns are allayed. It is also planned to form a joint residents’ group in the area who will be consulted on the works, and be part of the regeneration process which will enable residents to make decisions about the community in which they live.”
It is important to emphasise that there has been a long struggle to improve the Stonefield area of Hawick and with the successful joint working of Waverley, SBHA and SBC; and, the approval from The Scottish Government now received, this marks the start of an exciting new future for residents of the area, transforming their homes and the community for the better.”
Scottish Borders Council supported the proposals and enabled the infra-structure works to go ahead which included the installation of mains gas. This funding contribution of £300,000 was key to ensuring the project was affordable and value for money for the housing providers. David Cressey, Head of Housing SBC commented “The redevelopment of the Stonefield estate in Hawick is a strategic priority for the Council. We are therefore delighted to have been able to support both organisations as they begin this process, and look forward to working with them as the redevelopment progresses.” Cllr Ron Smith, portfolio holder for Housing, SBC stated that he was pleased to see the start of regeneration work at Stonefield which will lead to the significant Improvement of existing housing stock and which will help towards the Scottish Housing Quality standards. As a local member he was also delighted for the residents of Hawick that this work to renovate an area much in need of regeneration was beginning.
Central to the re-development of Stonefield is the work with the community, and the first stage is to consult with the owners, SBHA and Waverley Tenants. All of the residents affected by works proposed to their homes were invited to a joint session on Thursday 15th December 2011 and home visits are also being arranged.