Expertise Key in £117 Million Improvement Programme

Dale Potts
Renowned in the marketplace for its in-depth knowledge of the social housing sector, Faithful+Gould's Newcastle office has just scooped a key role on a £117 million housing improvement programme set to take place in County Durham.

Its appointment by Derwentside Homes Limited will involve Faithful+Gould in a major programme to determine the future of the 900 or so non traditional homes situated on nine estates throughout the district. Consultancy services will be provided to formulate a sustainability assessment and a comprehensive consultation strategy with residents and stakeholders will help determine a range of options.

Faithful+Gould will be responsible for undertaking consultancy services to formulate a sustainability strategy which will comprise a full assessment of all properties and communities on nine sites across the county. This will identify the key issues that need to be addressed and allow the development of a framework outlining the areas to be prioritised.

Working closely in partnership with Derwentside Homes, Faithful+Gould will be producing a property scoping report, area appraisal, a sustainability strategy, masterplan and project implementation.

The sustainability strategy will lead on to the development of an initial masterplan for a prioritised site which will influence the development of the remaining eight areas; these will be developed in conjunction with the findings of the initial option appraisal study.

Well known within the social housing sector, having held senior positions over the past 35 years, Colin Garbutt, executive consultant at Faithful+Gould, said:

"Quite rightly, a key requirement of our brief revolves around consultation and involvement with the residents - some of whom have exercised their Right To Buy (RTB) and they are regarded as being crucial to these studies.

"Derwentside Home’s management team has been highly active in encouraging residents to be more involved. Coupled with our team, which has extensive experience in arranging public consultation events, distilling themes and opinions from residents and stakeholders and reaching all sections of the community, we should be able to acquire some decisive feedback on what is required.

"We are keen to add value to our services and have therefore introduced a Property Option Appraisal Toolkit which will provide Derwentside Homes with a method of ensuring that investment decisions are made in a consistent manner. We understand that each site will require us to take a different approach, and a monitoring system will be put in place to prioritise each individual estate and measure its success.

"On a personal level, I am thrilled to be leading this project as I used to manage properties at the Bridgehill, Leadgate and Moorside sites and this local knowledge, coupled with Faithful+Gould’s international capability, is a key cog in the delivery of complex projects on our doorstep, such as this."

Derwentside Homes manages 6,700 properties within north west County Durham, consisting of flats, family houses and bungalows as well as sheltered flats and bungalows for the elderly.

Susan Clark, tenant resource and information manager from Derwentside Homes, said:

"Faithful+Gould’s depth of understanding and sensitive approach to projects such as ours makes the consultancy well placed to advise us on such a significant housing improvement programme.

"Our vision is to provide affordable, attractive homes in strong, safe communities where everyone is valued. We are committed to giving all our tenants the opportunity to have a real say in the management of homes by extensive consultation which allows them the chance to be involved in the decision making about future housing development."

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