Custom-built homes a key to regeneration

Date published: 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.”