A £10m new affordable housing redevelopment Troutbeck Crescent in Mereside, Blackpool has now seen all of its homes let and provide significant benefits and opportunities to residents, local businesses and communities – as part of Blackpool Council’s commitment to add Social Value to its investments.
The scheme, developed by Blackpool Council which is managed on behalf of the council by Blackpool Coastal Housing (BCH) offers a total of 75 contemporary designed, affordable, high quality social housing rented homes to families, individuals and includes accessible living units with low running costs. It has replaced the original six three-storey blocks of 81 existing flats that were on the site.
Built by Blackpool based company RP Tyson Construction and designed by Preston architects Cassidy + Ashton, Troutbeck is an innovative and modern social housing vision and design that offers both health and wellbeing living space to households and an inviting gateway into Blackpool.
The project has been funded by Blackpool Council but is self-financing through tenant rents and has been supported with grant funding from Homes England under the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme 2016-21.
Benefits for Blackpool – Social Value
In addition to meeting people’s diverse housing needs the benefits of the development are wide ranging as Blackpool Council is committed to ensuring that the impact of such investments are felt throughout the whole community.
Any company employed to work by Blackpool Council is asked to show through Social Value commitments how they will help residents, local businesses and the community to keep the town developing and growing - from better living accommodation, local job creation opportunities, helping people learn skills and supporting the town’s local community organisations.
Examples of how residents, local businesses and the community have benefitted
- Blackpool’s Troutbeck Residents
The health and wellbeing of residents has been considered in the design with spacious, modern housing and private amenity space such as their own back gardens and individual front doors - giving a sense of ownership. Part of the architect’s brief was to provide a design that did not look like traditional social housing. A bold and striking appearance has been delivered giving its own local identity and provides attractive indoor and public outdoor environments with landscaped areas and walkways.
One of the other many features of the Troutbeck housing scheme alongside general family and individual living has been to provide adapted and accessible homes designed to enable independent living for residents with mobility and health needs.
Troutbeck resident Richard Ramsbottom needed more suitable accommodation due to medical conditions. He said: “My previous accommodation had stairs and with an upstairs bathroom it was a big problem for me to manage. I now have an accessible living space all on one level, with big windows and gardens. This is so much better for me. It is a great development.”
- Local businesses and employment
Businesses in Blackpool and the local area appointed by Blackpool Council have been providing employment opportunities and career experience.
The majority of Blackpool based constructor RP Tyson’s workforce including consultants and subcontractors are local. During the build the company employed 12 new apprentices from joiners to plasterers with many being retained as a result of the project and now working on other Blackpool investments.
Chris Haywood is Blackpool born and bred and started out as a bricklayer eight years ago and last year graduated with a degree in quantity surveying. Chris worked on the Troutbeck development and said: “It’s great to be a part of local work on sites in Blackpool. Contracts like this housing scheme allows us to appoint local sub-contractors which generates employment in the area.”
- Community involvement
Constructors RP Tyson as part of its commitment to local community projects through a £5,000 Troutbeck Community Fund has seen local community groups and organisations benefit from funding or voluntary time. Mereside Primary School received money to purchase a TeePee for safe outdoor learning during Covid, Blackpool Boys & Girls Club were able to improve the outdoor area of its facilities and offer more activities to the community while a donation to Little Marton Windmill’s volunteer group is helping support the promotion of the historic structure. Fylde Coast Women’s Aid were also assisted with the refurbishment of their new premises.
Cllr Ivan Taylor, Blackpool Council Deputy Leader with responsibilities for housing, said: “This has been one of many significant investment schemes and projects across the town that are making Blackpool better.
“Troutbeck has provided better living accommodation as well as benefitting our local economy through local contracts, job creation and skills learning opportunities, and it has helped local community organisations.”
Blackpool Coastal Housing’s Chief Executive, John Donnellon, said: “This is a scheme that the council and Blackpool can be proud of, replacing ageing accommodation with modern high quality housing for Blackpool residents. Giving Blackpool stable housing options is a key priority for the town and Troutbeck represents that ambition at its very best.”
Cassidy + Ashton as lead architect co-ordinated all design services for the scheme. Lawrence McBurney, director at Cassidy + Ashton said: “Our vision for Troutbeck from the start was to provide modern affordable housing for the residents, as well as an impressive gateway into Blackpool.
“We have an excellent working relationship with Blackpool Council, who were very open to our new ideas and innovative contemporary designs. It has been a great collaborative project to work on and is a credit to everyone involved.”
Managing Director of local Construction company RP Tyson Construction, Jeremy Whittle, commented: “Blackpool is our home and being chosen by the council to deliver this significant, high-profile project has been genuinely momentous for us. This project has enabled us to deliver on so many special outcomes for the benefit of the wider Blackpool community.”