KCA is a local charity with innovation at its heart

The Fieldhead Project

The Fieldhead Estate in Birstall, north Kirklees, was a typical post-war council estate showing high levels of deprivation.

With a mixture of council rented and private owners under right to buy, a row of shops, a school and Sure Start centre there were around 150 hard to let flats.

The flats attracted anti-social behaviour and were a concern to the local community. A plan was devised to demolish the flats and build replacement family homes.

KCA was approached to be involved in the project and to submit a funding bid to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to part fund the project.

The role of KCA evolved into being the lead partner for the project, meaning that KCA received the grant, took out a mortgage and held the contract with the builder.

This is the first time that an organisation of its kind had taken on this role.

Although complex in detail, the principles of the project are simple. A contract has been let to Keepmoat following an open procurement process.

Under this contract, 63 homes for social let and 14 for shared ownership will be built, which will be owned by KCA. A further 62 homes will be built by Keepmoat for private sale. Keepmoat building these homes for sale has allowed the contract price to remain lower and to make sure that there is a mix of private and social housing on the estate.

Kirklees Council provided the land that the old flats were on for no cost. In return, they will have nominations rights for the social rented properties, which means that they will decide who will live in the 63 properties using the usual bidding system for getting a council house.

The HCA awarded KCA a grant towards the project and sets certain rules and requirements that must be met to receive the money. This includes design standards and rental levels.

KNH are now paid by KCA manage the social rented properties on the estate. This will link in with the remaining council owned homes that are on the estate that KNH also manage.

So what has KCA achieved at Fieldhead?

It has:

  • provided 77 new family homes available through social rent or shared ownership.
  • secured a £4m grant into Kirklees from the HCA to undertake the scheme.
  • demolished the 150 hard to let units and removed an area of concern for local residents
  • provided 4 new shop units to replace the old ones

It is hoped that the success that is achieved at Fieldhead can then be used on other projects in the Kirklees area.