The iconic Grade II* listed Byker Wall, which is owned and managed by the Byker Community Trust (BCT) Housing Association, has just undergone a £9.7 million refurbishment.
Refurbishment work to 628 flats and maisonettes including link blocks has been successfully delivered between the BCT, housing and regeneration specialist, Keepmoat and security systems provider OpenView, working in partnership with Newcastle City Council, Your Homes Newcastle and Historic England.
The internationally renowned 1.3-mile-long structure has received a full external fabric overhaul including the installation of a new roof and photovoltaics, new windows and doors, improvements to communal stairwells and entrances, a new digital aerial system, upgraded door entry and CCTV and a complete repaint in line with the original Ralph Erskine colour scheme.
The scale of the refurbishment, which has taken two years to complete, has seen the installation of 132 PV panels, the removal of 300 tonnes of asbestos and the installation of fibre optic cabling for telephone and broadband services to 628 homes enabling all residents to access faster internet and telephony services.
Jill Haley, Chief Executive of the BCT, said: “When the Estate transferred from Newcastle City Council to the BCT in July 2012, we made a number of specific promises to tenants relating to investment in the Estate which included refurbishing the Byker Wall.
“The Wall forms the centre piece of the Byker Estate and these improvements will make a significant difference to residents and their homes making them more energy efficient whilst improving the visual appeal of the whole Estate.
“I am delighted how well our partners have worked in collaboration with us to successfully deliver this scheme, which has resulted in high levels of customer satisfaction on what has been a very complex project. The completion of these works is another key milestone in our journey to make Byker a great place to live and work and we look forward to continuing to delivering our vision and services for our tenants in future.”
Lee Francis, Area Director for Keepmoat in the North East, said: “This has been a remarkable project to be involved in from day one. The solid partnership we have with Byker Community Trust and Newcastle City Council has been instrumental in the successful delivery of this scheme.”
Terry Cox, Marketing Director at OpenView, said: “It was a pleasure working with Byker Community Trust on this exciting project. OpenView has designed and installed high quality security and communications systems for these premises which will enhance the quality of life for residents and increase leaseholder values too.
“We provided a dedicated project manager to work in partnership with the Trust to ensure we captured all requirements and delivered a solution that is fit for purpose and will keep the premises safe and secure.”
Martin Greenfield of Rabygate within the Byker Wall, said: “I have liked in the Byker Wall for the past two and a half years and love living here. I have seen so many changes over the years and the improvements have made my home warm, safe and secure.”
BCT resident Eileen Balwin of Bamburgh Terrace, said: “The improvements have made my home lighter and modern. I’m really pleased. The people who did it were very good and nothing was any trouble for them. I can see me living here for a very long time.”
Another resident, Janice Logan of Dalton Crescent, said: “The door and windows are definitely a big improvement, it is warmer and quieter. One of my friends who was visiting me recently, used to live in the Byker Wall, and she says that the whole Byker Wall looks so much brighter
The refurbishment work has already caught the attention of judges by being shortlisted in a number of regional awards. The Byker Wall project has been shortlisted in the Residential, Building Conservation and Infrastructure categories of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) awards and the Excellence in Contractor Engagement category of the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Northern awards.
The BCT owns over 1,800 homes on the Byker Estate and has already committed over £22.5 million on the Estate with further improvements expected to be delivered in the next five years.