Willenhall gets a green makeover

George Tighe gets to work as part of the Whitefriars Housing Homeworks team conducting environmental improvements in Willenhall, under the watchful eye of resident Wesley Allen.


?Tuesday, 20 August 2013 

People living in Willenhall are getting a smarter outlook thanks to £1million of improvement works by Whitefriars Housing’s HomeWorks.

This resource is in addition to £9m investment by Whitefriars over the past two years into improving the insulation to homes in the neighbourhood.

Properties in Willenhall and Willenhall Wood are benefiting from improved communal areas including sheds and bin stores as well as new hedging and more than 4,000m of recycled plastic picket fencing.

The 20-week programme has seen HomeWorks – the housing association’s own maintenance and repairs service – boosting the team with 10 extra staff.

This includes carpentry apprentices from other HomeWorks projects who will get to hone new skills and experience outdoor work.

In total 51 blocks of flats and 192 houses are seeing improvements as part of the works, which include: fitting around 190 doors; installing 51 security gates and; replacing or creating roofs for 190 bin stores and shared sheds.

Earl Allen, 24, is one of the local residents who is benefiting from the improvements.  He said: “My block is already re-rendered and looking smart and the team is now busy doing up the outside shared area.  The work is only part-way through but it is already obvious that the locality is cared for.  When somewhere looks well tended it encourages residents to take pride in where they live and it makes a real difference.”

Steve Kirk, director of HomeWorks, said: “We’re proud to have won this work and look forward to meeting local people’s expectations. 

“The value of the contract meant there was a competitive tender process but our bid won on quality and value.   

“As well as improving the environment with this project we’re also helping our carpentry apprentices build their skills and employing local people.”

It’s a high-profile project for the estates, which were designed in the 50s and 60s with a nod to American design where homes overlook green spaces and footpaths.  

Plans for the improvement works have followed the green theme by using sustainable materials such as recycled picket fencing, securing green spaces and incorporating planting.

Residents, including the Investment Plus Willenhall Environmental Group, have influenced plans including having their say on what hedges should be planted.

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