Werneth newsletter - March 2011 - not available for download
Werneth was one of the first neighbourhoods in Oldham that Housing Market Renewal got involved in and since 2004 more than £26m has been invested, bringing about great changes.
We have replaced some of the old terraced houses with new, well-designed homes suited to modern needs. The changes are helping to make Werneth, just 15 minutes drive from Manchester city centre, an increasingly desirable place to live. You can find out more about how attractive the area is becoming, and what it has to offer, by visiting our Werneth is Changing website.
We have three major sites to develop in Werneth:
Oliver's Court is a really exciting new development. Its striking homes are the first to be built in north Werneth.
Keepmoat Homes has completed 57 homes including three, four and five bedroom houses together with two bedroom apartments. Residents who have moved in are delighted with their new properties.
From next spring, Metrolink trams will provide a convenient service just a short walk from the new homes. A new stop will be created at Freehold, with another replacing the existing rail station.
Devon Street and Norfolk Street
Elsewhere in Werneth, we worked with Great Places Housing Group to complete 23 new homes in 2008. Described by residents as reminding them of New England fishermen's houses, the homes provide a choice of size and tenure.
Home Zones were also developed giving priority to pedestrians rather than cars. Residents came together to design the look of the Home Zones, so each has its own feel. The quality has been recognised with the award of Best Brownfield Development in the Daily Telegraph Your New Home Awards.
Another south Werneth development is Spencer Street, where Countryside Properties will start work this spring to transform this former commercial site to provide more 111 attractive new homes. Many of the properties will be available for affordable rent through Great Places Housing Group.
Improving the historic housing stock
Alongside the newly built homes across Werneth, each year has seen more of the existing houses being refurbished, from new walls and railings, to cleaned brickwork, new guttering and repointing.
More than 300 homes have benefited from the work, and residents are seeing a big difference. The brighter look of homes on main routes like Oxford Street, as well as quieter side streets is creating a fantastic visual impact.
Helping residents to move, or stay
Where HMR is buying houses for clearance, financial help is on offer to make sure they move to great new homes.
Jill Chadwick moved from Werneth to a new house elsewhere in Oldham. Jill said, "I think the scheme provides fantastic support to residents. I'm really pleased with my new property and am now living closer to friends and family."
Eileen Oldham sold her two-bedroom terrace home and found a three-bedroom property only three-quarters of a mile away in Chadderton. Describing her new home Eileen said, "I really like it. The layout is very similar to my old house, but with more of a garden at the front and the back."
Transforming the neighbourhood is about more than just the houses though. HMR has funded Environmental Enforcement Officers who have worked with residents and local groups to tidy up streets, open land and back alleys. HMR also works closely with Oldham Council and the police to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
Engaging local people
We have always made sure local people have a big say in the plans for Werneth. Before work began on the development sites, residents turned out to meetings to make sure that what was planned reflected their needs. Over the past year residents have taken the opportunity to influence the design of more new homes, including Keepmoat's latest plans for new homes around Edward Street in north Werneth.
With so much change underway in the area, engaging with residents is hugely important. We worked with groups such as the Werneth Community Forum and the Werneth Women's Group. The Good Neighbours Group, backed by HMR, has helped residents to access community activities and to help and support each other.
If you want to find out more about HMR's work in Werneth, though the neighbourhood office has now closed you are welcome to contact Oldham Council's Implementation Section on 0161 770 4246.