23 March, 2009
After being designated as renewal areas in the mid 1990's the areas of Gorse Hill and Old Trafford have been restored to their former glory.
The main strategy was a major programme of external works to repair 2,200 homes and improve their energy efficiency along with many other renewal strategies. At the time of the renewal order declaration there were around 120 long-term empty properties in Old Trafford (i.e. empty for more than one year), which have all now been brought back in to use thanks to partnership working between the council and the registered social landlords that owned many of them.
Trafford’s small team of dedicated staff worked closely with the residents to manage the complex building programmes. Several large building contractors and 1500 tradesmen, many of whom were locally employed, worked on the projects – 58 large schemes were completed on time and within budget.
The residents played a major part in the success of the projects, even though for a short time they had to endure life on what felt like a ‘building site’. Their willingness to accept some disruption as a necessary but temporary problem was a major factor in getting their homes and the areas improved. Through area forums and meetings for each of the group repair schemes, residents were able to put forward their comments.
Mr Mehtar who lived in Gorse Hill before moving to Old Trafford commented on the changes to the area. "I have lived in the area for a long time and it used to be run down. But now after our renewal area work has been done our roads and houses are much better. This area is a great place to bring our grandchildren up," he said.
Further to this Mrs Smith from Gorse Hill said it had made the area more attractive to people looking to buy property. "The Gorse Hill Area was completely transformed by the group repair work. Residents enjoy their homes now and many young couples have bought homes in the area. Homes are cheaper to heat due to new windows and doors and solid roofs," she said.
And it wasn’t just about the homes, roads and footpaths, as through the renewal strategy an independent job shop was set up at Old Trafford community centre, CCTV monitoring of hotspots was introduced, alleyway gating was put up in Old Trafford, residents had access to set up home watch schemes and crime prevention measures were included in the building contracts (including new design front doors and locks fitted to homes being those recommended by a GMP architect liaison officer).
Executive Councillor Mike Cornes said: "Over 7,000 of Trafford’s residents now live in substantially better homes that are warmer and more secure. The communities are more buoyant and the areas are safer. Large numbers of empty properties have been brought back into use and house prices have risen.
"This transformation is thanks to a small committed team of officers working on this project for more than a decade, but it could not have been completed without the willingness of the residents to get involved and work to make their community a much better place."
Source: Trafford MBC