£30m makeover for Hull's Orchard Park estate
HULL'S Orchard Park will undergo a £30m makeover, with hundreds of affordable homes set to be built over three years, the Mail can reveal.
Hull City Council housing chiefs say drastic action is needed to prevent the estate becoming a "wilderness" following the demolition of the estate's iconic tower blocks and the axing of a Government revival scheme.
Now residents will be asked for their views on the council's "masterplan", which has taken almost two years to draw-up and includes:
1,200 homes being up-graded, ensuring they are energy-efficient
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Up to 300 new properties, with one, two or three bedrooms
94 flats in the remaining Gorthorpe and Kinthorpe tower blocks being brought up to modern living standards
65 new one and two-bedroom apartments for the elderly contained within a sheltered housing complex. Councillor John Black, the council's portfolio holder for strategic and operational housing, said the majority of the funding is already in place and he is confident the remainder will be found.
"We are saying to the people of Orchard Park, 'you have not been abandoned'," he said.
"This is not pie in the sky. This will happen. We have a masterplan and funding has been allocated."
Cllr Black said the local authority needed to act to arrest the area's decline of recent years.
"If we had not put this plan together, there would have been a spiral of decline," he said. "Orchard Park would have turned into a wilderness."
Two years ago, the Government scrapped its proposed £160m housing scheme for Orchard Park.
Cllr Black said the decision forced a major rethink at the Guildhall about how best to develop the estate.
He said: "After the bitter blow of losing that money from the Government PFI (private finance initiative) we had to come up with a viable and cost-effective plan.
"The plan, which we are keen to get feedback on, is the result of 20 months' hard work."
Cllr Black said, unlike the 1960s-built tower blocks, which have long divided residents' opinions, the new homes will be built with energy efficiency in mind to help make families' budgets stretch further.
"These properties will be highly insulated and we expect them to prove very popular with new tenants," he said.
Hull City Council is teaming up with Riverside Group Housing Association to deliver part of the scheme.
Most of the new homes will belong to the local authority, said Cllr Black.
Riverside has said it will build eight three-bedroom and five two-bedroom homes in Homethorpe, on the former site of a tower block.
The council says it has already committed funding for the development of 60 one-bed flats, 15 two bed-flats and 25 two-bed houses.
In addition, housing chiefs say there is sufficient "cleared land" for the potential development of another 240 homes on the estate.
Residents will be kept fully up-to-speed on developments, said Cllr Black.
Plans can be viewed by the public at the estate's Orchard Centre on tomorrow and on Saturday.
Cllr Black said: "These events will showcase the positive steps forward that are now underway and will provide information on a range of regeneration activities that will be taking place over the coming months and years to improve the area."
Orchard Park ward councillor Terry Geraghty said: "I accept people on the estate may be thinking, 'we have heard this before'.
"There has been disappointment over the years. But this is happening and Orchard Park will become one of the best estates in this city."
Carl Mitchell, Riverside's operations manager, said: "We already have a strong track record in Hull.
"We are almost halfway through a five-year, £15m regeneration programme in North Bransholme.
"As part of our wider commitment to the regeneration of the city, we are looking forward to working with Hull City Council to build new affordable homes in Orchard Park."
Residents will also be able to see information about the estate's long-awaited new £5m shopping centre to replace the existing crumbling one off Ellerburn Avenue.
Plans will be available to view in the Orchard Suite, of the Orchard Centre, on tomorrow, from 2pm to 6pm and on Saturday, from 10am to 2pm.
• Picture gallery: Orchard Park through the years