Partnership housing specialist Lovell has been selected by Sandwell Council to carry out a £9.7m, 18-month improvement programme for three blocks of flats at the Lion Farm Estate, Oldbury in the West Midlands.
The internal and external refurbishment of the three 1960s-built high-rises — Harry Price, Hackwood and Wallace Houses — will get under way this month (August). Altogether, the 13-storey blocks house more than 200 individual flats.
The upgrading programme will include new windows, balcony doors and panels, and the fitting of fire-resistant, insulated external cladding of the highest standard. Lovell will also install new lifts and new door entry systems, create extra car parking, carry out landscaping and the redecoration of communal areas.
With residents set to continue living in their homes during the refurbishment, Lovell will do everything possible to minimise disruption including providing a respite facility for their use during the day.
In addition, Lovell will deliver training and community initiatives locally as part of its belief in extending the benefits of regeneration schemes as widely as possible and investing in local areas. The company will recruit a number of local apprentices to work on the Lion Farm refurbishment, provide work placements through the project and where possible will use local contractors.
Lovell will also get involved in community events and support local organisations, including working with the Lion Farm Action Centre to help get local unemployed people back into work and helping with Sandwell Council’s ‘Building Bridges’ and ‘Motivate’ employment schemes by offering CV-writing guidance and training for job interviews. Locally, the company is also supporting Sandwell Council’s ‘Let’s Play’ scheme as well as donating to and helping a local foodbank. As part of its ongoing safety awareness campaign, Lovell will visit local schools to talk to students about the importance of staying safe by never playing on building sites, as well as giving pupils the chance to find out more about construction and the career opportunities offered by the industry.
Lovell Regional Refurbishment Director Carl Yale said: “We are proud to be continuing our long-standing relationship with Sandwell Council through this latest refurbishment scheme. This is a major programme of work which will deliver important physical improvements for people’s homes as well as lasting community benefits for the area.”
Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, Sandwell’s Cabinet Member for Housing, commented: “I am really pleased that work is starting on the three high-rise blocks on the Lion Farm estate, they really need modernising and I am sure tenants are looking forward to the transformation over the next year which will revitalise the whole estate.
“The council will be working closely with the Lovell team to make sure that tenants are kept fully up-to-date as work progresses and that they are inconvenienced as little as possible.”
Lovell has been working in the area as one of Sandwell Council’s refurbishment partners since 2005.