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New homes and hope take root at Blakenhall Gardens

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A MULTI-MILLION pound partnership is paving the way for a fresh start in one of Wolverhampton's most deprived neighbourhoods with the official launch of the Blakenhall Gardens development.

Delivered by Keepmoat in collaboration with Wolverhampton City Council, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), Bromford Group and All Saints and Blakenhall Community Development Partnership (ABCD), the development will breathe new life into the area through the provision of high-quality housing, new communities and shops.

Work has now begun on the first phase of construction - providing 102 new homes, ten shops and public open space.

Of the 100-plus new homes, 21 will be available for affordable rent exclusively by local families through Bromford Living, part of Bromford Group. Darrin Gamble, Bromford's head of neighbourhood -West Midlands, said: "We are delighted to see the start of site works - and move that much closer to providing a collection of high-quality affordable homes that will meet the needs of local families through the Homes in the City choice-based lettings scheme.

"The project underscores Bromford's continued commitment to the ongoing regeneration of this part of Blakenhall - close to our award-winning Cross Street South development - and we look forward to its successful completion."

The scheme had been stalled for two years due to market conditions but saw its official launch on Friday, March 4, as representatives from Keepmoat, the council, HCA, Bromford and ABCD came together to celebrate the hard work that has gone into getting the project off the ground.

Richard Moore, land and partnerships manager for Keepmoat Homes, is pleased that the development is now under way. He said: "This is a significant moment for the Blakenhall area, as the Blakenhall Gardens development will have a huge impact on the local community that will be felt by generations to come. We've faced some setbacks, but today's launch represents the hard work and dedication of everyone involved."

Keith Kirby, ABCD executive director, attended the launch and said: "ABCD has been involved in this project right from the start and we are absolutely delighted to see the launch of this exciting development. It is based in the heart of the community and is part of the overall transformation of that part of the city which has already seen a host of improvements such as the new St Luke's Primary School building, the Blakenhall Community and Healthy Living Centre, the Bromford Eco-Homes, the Bromley Street children's play area and major environmental and safety work on Dudley Road."

Also there on the day was Paul Gascoine, investment and regeneration manager for the HCA Midlands. He said: "The HCA is pleased to have played a part in bringing forward this innovative regeneration scheme in the heart of Wolverhampton's New Deal for Communities (NDC) area. We have worked closely with the council, NDC and Keepmoat to bring in the funding needed to do the initial infrastructure work, which has enabled Keepmoat to start on site with the first phase of construction."

Cllr Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Enterprise, said: "The start of work on this exciting development is another important milestone in the regeneration of Blakenhall and it will compliment other fantastic new schemes in the area including the healthy living centre, the award-winning primary school, improvements to Dudley Road and the restoration of Phoenix Park.

"It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the partners involved that this project is getting off the ground despite the current difficult economic climate."

Keepmoat's sales office is now open within a retail unit on Dudley Road but will be moving on site when the show homes are completed later this year.