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Custom-built homes a key to regeneration

Date online: 28 January 2014

A DERELICT part of Oldham will be given a new lease of life when residents start work on their own estate of custom-built homes.

Oldham Council’s Cabinet last night agreed to sell the land between Cambridge Street, Durham Street and Lynn Street to a community-led association, which will create 37 houses in a £7million deal.

The land has been vacant for more than a decade, following the loss of Housing Market Renewal funding.

Residents will now design and build their own homes in the largest scheme of its kind in Greater Manchester, part of a wider plan to complete the regeneration of Werneth.

Community Build Werneth Ltd will create four-to-six bedroom detached homes.

Opportunities for residents interested in custom-build homes were promoted in the former HMR areas a year ago and interested residents formed CBW. The council will receive full market value for the land.

The development should begin this summer and could take around two years to complete.

Councillor Shoab Akhtar said: “It’s not just 37 homes, but 37 families, where the average sizes will be five or six people. Aspirational families will want to design their own homes, and their homes will be different to others we have built. They’re specific to their cultural needs.”

Council leader Jim McMahon said: “We say to people that if you’re willing to put in time and energy then we will match it, and we have stepped up. The community got involved in this scheme and hopefully it is the beginning of something for other areas of Oldham.”

Bob Ager, director of Two Trees Community Build Consultants in Hyde, is managing the project. The cost of the development will be around £6-7million.

He said: “When the money was cut by central government, it left areas such as Werneth with no realistic way of moving forward. We’re working with the council to bring back the new housing in to the area and get rid of the dereliction.”


Any chance the council could come and finish Derker off ?
Just had a drive up London Rd which is almost un-driveable, contractors are not cleaning up the mess their wagons make. I suspect it would be a different story if in a more affluent part of Oldham.

7 Million project for 37 houses!!! Which are specific to their cultural needs... so not open to all cultures then? You really could not say that the other way around. Houses should be offered to all groups. This is what causes divides of communities.

Housing designed to "cultural needs" says it all, creating demographically singular areas where culture or to be more accurate authoritarian religious votes can be nurtured in return for no requirement to integrate.
I lived in this area for about 8 years and the experiences shaped my both my political and private opinion of Oldham.

This was an idea put forward by the Libdems and poo poor by Labour It's good to see that properties are being build to fit peoples needs

I see nothing to celebrate in this announcement. True integration, it would seem, is as far away as ever.

And how does this help integration exactly ?

For those of you questioning the "Community Cohesion" aspect, if you pop onto the Oldham.gov site it state this project assists community cohesion. I cannot see how, but there it is in black and white.

Plus 1: New build in an area of dereliction
Plus 2: Income to council from sale of the site
Plus 3: Council Tax income from 37 potentially Band D or E homes

As the Government has made sure the Council can't finish off HMR schemes,perhaps @justsaying can generate some interest in something similar in Derker.

Wow £200000 per home, and this was supposed to be a poor area !
No mention of how much the land was actually sold for,

As an Oldhamer living in a 'bog standard' house I am amazed 37 culturally special houses can be self built for less than £200,000 per house. One being described as detached 6 bedrooms 3 bathrooms and and 2 reception rooms.Surely very cheap for such houses even self built.

@ JMTS would you agree that Councils blame the Gov, Gov blame the council, and so on and so forth, Its insulting to our intelligence isn't it?
We do not care whos 'fault' it is or was, the party that will get the most votes in the next local election will be the one that provides solutions to problems, not the one that continually points the finger of blame.

Timberwolf, I suspect that like me most people judge how well integration is working in Oldham by what they see and not what they read on a council web site.
Only a society that is struggling with integration needs to invent a doublespeak phrase such as "Community Cohesion". It is utterly meaningless when when we have many communities.
How can social cohesion be achieved whilst maintaining diversity? One means having a united whole the other being different or unalike. Surely contradictions.

I can't believe I'm reading this tosh
Blood Boiling!!

And Oldham becomes even more divided .

Why have Oldham council refused to publish the actual cost for the sale of the land? Why do they feel they need to keep it from the public?

The article seemed to be a good news story until Cllr Shoab said the houses "are specific for their cultural needs". So much for social cohesion. As Deputy Leader of the Council Cllr Shoab should refrain from such divisive language. If he had any sense of shame he would resign his position now.


HMR was a good concept.
Between the government of the day and Treasury mandarins the money trickled out. Local Authorities should have been given more up front to get on with it. Not enough had been achieved before this government pulled the plug. It looks like the Council working with the community is finding a form of investment to move forward. There's a challenge to groups of Oldhamers across the borough (not just HMR areas) to look at derelict land and this sdort of scheme.

Housing Market Renewal was a project that aimed to improve living conditions for residents and improve our town's image. The Coalition stopped it asap so that they could reduce tax for the rich. But it left Oldham with a lot of cleared land. This is a good way to use it rather than leave derelict sites. The article says that the former HMR areas, Derker and Werneth, were offered the opportunity to do this. So, we it seems that Derker residents did not take it up. That's a pity.


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