A former derelict site close to Cleckheaton town centre has been transformed into an “affordable” housing development by Leeds-based Unity Homes & Enterprise.
Seven brand new two-bed homes have been built at the location previously occupied by the Albion Works and Northgate Mills complex, which had been purchased by Tesco.
After Tesco’s plans changed, the site was bought by retirement communities developer McCarthy & Stone and Darrington Healthcare Ltd.
Unity, a BME-led housing association, acquired a portion of this land to build seven properties for “affordable” rent.
Torpoint Construction started work in January 2019 and, thanks to a combination of excellent site management and Timberframe construction, the scheme was finished in November — two months ahead of schedule.
Unity hosted a small gathering for residents and project partners to celebrate the completion.
Ali Akbor OBE, Unity’s chief executive, thanked everyone involved – including Kirklees Council and Homes England – for their support in delivering the new properties.
“This is our third development in Kirklees,” he said. “We are delighted at the part it has played in helping to regenerate Northgate and attract investment into the town.
“Encouraged by the partnership work that we have with the local authority, this won’t be the last of our schemes here and we are already working on a number of other developments within the district.
“Unity has always been focused on more than providing homes. We deal with inequalities and try to give people an opportunity to develop and help create sustainable, cohesive communities. That is our mission, that is what guides us in everything that we do.”
Wayne Noteman, Unity’s regeneration director, added: “We’re a relatively small association but we punch above our weight. This sort of development epitomises what we’re all about, trying to do the right things by our tenants and the community, because it’s not just about the bricks and mortar – it’s about much more than that.
“It’s all about partnership, because we’re never going to be able to deliver this kind of scheme by ourselves.”
Baroness Pinnock, who has represented the Cleckheaton ward on Kirklees Council since 1987, said: “We are very pleased to see this great new development here – and welcome to the new tenants.
“Thank you to Unity housing. I have read and heard what their values are and what their intentions are regarding new homes and new communities. That is exactly what we seek – building diverse communities that work together and are happy together.
“We would love to have more Unity developments here with the Council. These are much needed houses for social rent or shared ownership.”
James Hinchliffe, housing growth manager, Kirklees Council, said: “Addressing housing needs and driving and promoting the place, design and quality standards are critical. Working with partners, including Unity, to deliver our housing growth ambitions in Kirklees is essential to securing further investment, pace of delivery and good quality affordable housing that can change people’s lives for the better.
“This scheme was achieved through the planning and legal frameworks with Unity and Homes England.
“It’s been really rewarding to watch the development progress from the initial drawings to what we see today, and to meet residents and hear the difference that it’s making to their lives.”
Main Image: Unity chair Shruti Bhargava presents flowers to Northgate tenant Pariya Chehrehgoshaei, watched (from right to left) by her father Mehdi, Unity chief executive Ali Akbor, and Baroness Pinnock