Residents have begun moving in to new affordable homes in Kidsgrove thanks to a £2m Aspire Housing regeneration scheme.
The former Woodshutts Inn pub in Lower Ash Road, Butt Lane, was demolished to make way for 22 quality homes, ready for rent and shared ownership sale.
The flats, houses and bungalows in Woodshutts Park have transformed the neighbourhood, providing much needed housing at an affordable price. The shared ownership homes are priced of between £115k and £125k for two-bed houses or bungalows, where the buyer purchases a 40 per cent share.
The development was financed by Aspire Housing with £616,000 of funding from the Homes and Communities Agency. Contractor, Novus Property Solutions completed the construction.
Sinéad Butters, Aspire Housing Chief Executive, said: “We are committed to providing new affordable homes, both for rent and to buy, to meet local housing needs. “I feel proud to see the transformation of this site. In the past, the derelict pub attracted interest for all the wrong reasons, it was an eyesore and a magnet for anti-social behaviour.
“But we have turned it around and created housing which is in high demand. Four of the seven shared ownership homes were reserved before the site had been completed. “They are proving very popular and we know this type of housing is helping people get that first step on the property ladder.”
Novus Director, Alan Nixon, said: “We’re proud to have played our part in the transformation of this site, which had become something of an eyesore after years of neglect. “It’s a perfect example of our partnership with Aspire Housing to deliver attractive high quality new homes, which it is hoped will improve the wider area for the benefit of the whole community.
“I’m sure that the residents moving in will enjoy living in this stunning new development.”
Councillor Kyle Robinson said: “For many years this site was blighted with anti-social behaviour, arson and drug dealing. “Residents in the surrounding area were fed up with the abandoned pub and the state it had been left in and that is why we led a campaign to see something done. “I am absolutely thrilled to see the development of affordable homes on this land to finally give something back to local people. “The investment that Aspire has made along with the Home and Communities Agency is very much welcomed. “This is an example of what we can deliver for our communities when we work together.
“I would like to wish the new residents well in their lovely new homes.”
Councillor Kyle Robinson is calling on Staffordshire County Council Highways department to fix damaged crash barriers in the Butt Lane ward located on Congleton Road and Fourth Avenue. Some of the damaged barriers were reported months ago and have yet to be fixed. Highways officers also highlighted in an email that repairing the barriers were not a priority in certain locations, even at a school entrance. There have been several accidents at both locations in recent months and residents are furious that the Council is failing to take their concerns seriously. The crash barriers were put in place to protect pedestrians walking past busy junctions which are also known to be crash hot spots.
Kyle said: “I reported the damaged barriers outside of the school entrance on Fourth Avenue nearly 12 months ago and the County Council has still done nothing to repair them. I am particularly concerned that damaged barriers at a school entrance are not seen as a priority. Well over 400 school children use Fourth Avenue each morning to access The Kings School. I think the safety of our kids should always be a top priority and I call on Staffordshire County Council to get their act together and fix these barriers as a matter of urgency. The regularly damaged barriers on the Congleton Road Junction with Cedar Avenue is further evidence that this particular stretch of road is dangerous and a thorough traffic survey is required.”
Local resident, Helen Chadwick said: “The barriers were installed to protect people walking past busy junctions. The barriers on Fourth Avenue are near to a school entrance and I dread to think what could happen should a car hit the already damaged and weakened barriers. The County Council should fix the problem without question or further delay.”
Crash barriers at both sites have been re-reported and reference numbers have been obtained. Any updates received regarding future repairs will be published here for information.
The Department of Transport has confirmed that long-awaited plans for improvements to Kidsgrove Railway Station are set to go ahead on schedule. Local residents have been campaigning for years to secure improvements, including a new pedestrian bridge and lift, in order to improve transport networks in the town. Construction could now begin as early as April next year. This decision also means that third party funding for a new car park and transport interchange will likely remain secure.
Ruth Smeeth MP, who has been working with the campaign and who recently met with the Transport Minister to lobby him on the issue, has welcomed the news.
Ruth said : “It’s absolutely brilliant news that these works finally have the all clear. Kidsgrove station is a vital transport hub for the community and these improvements will be a big boost. I had a productive meeting with the Transport Minister where we discussed the potential benefits of these renovations. I’m delighted that he has recognised the value that this investment will bring. This is the culmination of many years of hard work from so many local residents, Councillors and community organisations who have been advocating for these works for a long, long time.”
Councillor Kyle Robinson said: “When we launched our ‘bridge to equality’ petition in September 2013, we had everything crossed and hoped that the Government would listen. After a lot of lobbying from our MP and members of the community, we are finally moving forward. Almost £4 Million will be invested into this scheme and Kidsgrove will have a modern transport hub fit for the 21st Century.”
Kyle added: “While this is all very positive news I was disappointed to learn that the Department of Transport announced Kidsgrove will lose its direct service to London. This will mean that passengers travelling to London from Kidsgrove will need to change over at Stoke or Stafford stations. However, Kidsgrove will gain a new direct service to Birmingham New Street which opens our area up to jobs in that region. It is important that all our local representatives continue to lobby the Department for Transport for the best possible deal for the people of Kidsgrove.”
Thank you to East Midlands Trains and Network Rail for allowing us to share this video with the public.