Multi-million pound scheme to transform anti-social behaviour blackspot

Artist impression: Planned extra care development on the site of the former Dixon Road / Thompson Avenue site in Edlington.
Artist impression: Planned extra care development on the site of the former Dixon Road / Thompson Avenue site in Edlington.
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A MULTI-MILLION pound scheme is set to transform one of South Yorkshire’s worst anti-social behaviour blackspots.

A £17 million plan to turn the site of one of Doncaster’s most notorious estates into one of the best housing complexes for old people in the country will start soon. Local councillors today welcomed the project as the ‘best thing that has ever happened’ to Edlington.

The derelict land formerly blighted by grim terraces on Dixon Road and Thompson Avenue should, by the end of 2013, be occupied by a pioneering Extra Care Development for old people, and later another 87 homes for sale.

It will be the first ‘Exemplar’ Extra care development in the borough and will meet the latest standards promoted by Doncaster Council in its 2010 Housing in an Ageing Population report.

The project is being built by Doncaster firm Frank Haslam Milan for West Yorkshire-based organisation Housing 21, which has managed to obtain a £1 million Government grant towards the scheme.

The site has been empty for 10 years since all the houses on it were demolished following years of arson attacks and anti-social behaviour by some tenants.

Doncaster Council’s planning committee has granted permission for the project, which will comprise 64 apartments and 22 bungalows in the extra care part - built around a horseshoe shaped garden area - with the rest as a separate housing estate.

Cath Bradbury, projects development manager for Housing 21, told the committee they were ‘very proud’ of the design and expecting huge demand.

All the apartments and bungalows for older people will have two bedrooms. “We know from analysis in Doncaster there are between 32 and 49 applications for every bungalow that becomes available,” said Ms Bradbury.

“We wanted something that will be part of the community and this site is close to GPs, a clinic, pharmacy and library in the Martinwells Centre and there is a new supermarket close.

“It just feels this large derelict area is central to Edlington. This will be a real boost for the economy and the community of Edlington. Everyone is really anxious this scheme goes ahead and this gap is filled.”

Proposing permission be granted, Coun Ted Kitchen described it as ‘one of the nicest things to happen to this community’.

“This site has been a mess for a number of years and I can’t think of a better scheme,” he said. “This is one of the best things Edlington has had for years.”

The scheme has had to overcome funding obstacles since the housing market slump but the developers are confident sale of dwellings will finance the extra care provision.

Planning officer Donna Hunston said: “The development will bring many benefits to residents within the scheme and the wider population, and concludes a lengthy process over 10 years to find a viable and deliverable solution to this key site in Edlington.”

Extensive consultation was carried out in Edlington by Housing 21 before the application was lodged and there have been no objections.

“The proposal is the result of a well thought-out development that has included the views of residents of Edlington and demonstrated a positive working partnership between the developer, housing association and the council to deliver this very important regeneration scheme,” Ms Hunston added.