In Leicester, the One Public Estate programme worked with the local authority to unlock a run-down council-owned site for housing which will help regenerate one of the most deprived wards in the country.
Region: North East, Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands
Theme: Land Release Fund (LRF), Regeneration
In Leicester, the One Public Estate programme worked with the local authority to unlock a run-down council-owned site for housing which will help regenerate one of the most deprived wards in the country. The community have been heavily involved in the design. This has included a ‘House of the Future’ competition, judged by George Clarke, for local school students to design the type of homes they would like to see in their local area.
The site has been unviable for the development of open market housing due to a combination of the low housing values in the area plus abnormal costs preventing a viable developer return. It is highly unlikely that any development of this site would happen without the council’s strategic intervention and support from the One Public Estate’s Land Release Fund.
The Stocking Farm Estate, located within Leicester’s North West Regeneration Area is within one of the country’s 10 per cent most deprived wards and was identified as a strategic priority for investment by the council.
The site is at the centre of a council estate and currently accommodates retail and commercial units with flats above, garages, under-utilised community buildings and a multi-use games area playground. Under-utilisation of the site and disrepair have created a significant blight affecting communities in the immediate and wider area.
In 2021, Land Release Funding of £490,195 was awarded for demolition and site levelling work. This was matched with capital funding from Leicester City Council which will address the abnormal costs and allow the site to be unlocked for development.
The council’s aim is to comprehensively redevelop the site and create a new residential heart for Stocking Farm.
The outline masterplan sets out numerous benefits for the community. The scheme will seek to design-out private drives, and whilst parking will be provided, the approach aspires to provide high-quality car-free public space within the site. The new road access has been designed to avoid use as a traffic ‘rat-run’ and to encourage cyclist and pedestrian movement through the estate. The integration of the site with public transport and cycle networks aligns with the council’s strategies to encourage a shift to more sustainable travel.
Community engagement has been a key priority in the development of the scheme with a regular newsletter to local residents and stakeholders, surveys and a ‘House of the Future’ competition, judged by TV’s George Clarke, for local school students to design the type of homes they would like to see in their local area.
Potential for a community garden, or similar, is being explored to encourage existing and new residents to come together. Further community engagement is also planned.
The outcomes (including cost savings/income generated if applicable)
With Land Release Funding secured along with the council’s commitment of capital funding, the abnormal development costs will now be able to be addressed, unlocking the site for development.
This will enable 45 new homes to be developed, see investment in SMEs, and create local and regional spend. The development will also deliver numerous social benefits by helping to regenerate one of the most deprived wards in the country.