The Manchester City Council-led project has brought back into use long-term publicly owned brownfield land overlooking the Rochdale Canal to build 36 one-bedroom apartments, 12 two-bedroom apartments, 17 two storey, three-bedroom houses; and 4 three storey, four-bedroom houses.
16 of the apartments will also be made available to people over the age of 55, who are right sizing from other council properties in Newton Heath, and across North Manchester
The first 11 houses have now been handed over to the Council following completion by Rowlinson and allocated to local residents from the social housing register via the Council’s Manchester Move system.
Judith Caines moved in earlier this month with her three children. They had been living in temporary accommodation since February.
“I can actually say I am at home, and I am happy to come home. That’s how nice it feels.
“It was stressful where we were. But here, the kids have settled in really well, they are more relaxed and they are happy to go out to work and come back to their new home.
“After 17 years of stress and being unwell, being here feels like I’m living a real life.”
All of the houses in the development have solar panels fitted, new kitchens, generous gardens and private driveways with electric charging points, and will be heated through ground source heat pumps.
The final houses will be completed by the end of August and the apartments will be handed over to the Council in the early part of Autumn this year.
Each of the apartments will have a balcony and living walls will provide a green aesthetic to the development, along with shared outdoor green space, living green roofs and will be completed to low carbon standards.
This will also include the use of Ground Source Heat Pumps and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery to keep utility costs down for residents.
The apartments have been built to HAPPI design principles that ensure larger internal space as standard, which will easily accommodate someone using a wheelchair, along with extra storage space. This means they can also be adapted to meet the needs of the tenants.
To date, 12 apprentices have gained vital experience working onsite at the development, including three people from the Newton Heath area. They have worked on a range of elements including electrical installation, mechanical works and project management.
In all, they have delivered over 300 weeks of apprentice activity – double the number of committed weeks agreed by the contractor Rowlinson, highlighting the positive impact the apprentices are having on site.
The development has also provided wider social value in the local area, including site visits throughout the programme from local schools to see the building operation first-hand – alongside welcoming a work experience student from Wright Robinson College.
Toddlers from the Brighter Beginnings nursery, which neighbours the site, had VIP access to watch the diggers at work and Rowlinson have helped improve the nursery garden space with new benches, an outdoor sandpit, bug hotels and general maintenance.
Rowlinson have also made contributions towards planned improvements to the Peace Garden and War Memorial in Newton Heath in partnership with the Council’s local Neighbourhood Team.
Cllr Gavin White, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and employment, said: “This really is a moment for celebration. I have followed this development closely from the planning stages, through construction and it’s wonderful to see these homes finally complete and passed over to the new residents, who I am sure will be very pleased with their new home.
“This development represents the commitment we have to our residents to build more high quality social and affordable homes, while also delivering low carbon properties that are cheaper to run.
“At Silk Street we aren’t just building property. We’re building a lasting community of people who love their homes, love their neighbourhood and have real pride in where they live. And this is what building homes should be about.”
The City Council has committed to help build 10,000 affordable and social homes through to 2032 as part of an ambitious new Housing Strategy launched in the summer of 2022.
David Chilton, Managing Director, Rowlinson, said: “This is a great community to be working alongside and we’re proud to be part of the team that is bringing low carbon living to the new residents. The completed homes are delivering a new, high standard for social housing with a range of smart solutions, making them affordable to rent and to live in, whilst helping to protect the environment.
“Our work is continuing at pace to complete the equally impressive apartments, meaning more people can benefit from this high quality, sustainable development.”