Gloucester’s MP Richard Graham has today signed with the leaders of both County and City Councils and the Chair of Gloucester City Homes the Matson and Podsmead Community Regeneration Vision Statement.
Richard said “The statement commits us all to work as partners and contribute in different ways to a major Estate Regeneration in both these important wards – creating a master plan with residents that will ultimately provide better homes, shops, employment opportunities and lives.”
The Vision Statement builds on a successful £1.25 million government bid, recognising that some of the housing in both wards is not as good as it could be, and that a better mix of social, affordable, shared equity and owner occupied housing is a future ambition.
Gloucester City Homes Chair Tim Dare said that “estate regeneration in Matson and Podsmead is a major task and we need the full support, funding and assets that each of our organisations can bring to the table: and then work closely with residents to develop a master plan. With building costs and values as they are we need to stretch every pound to succeed, and I’m delighted that Richard, Mark, Paul and Jennie share our belief about the importance of this huge project.”
Gloucester City Homes gained ownership of several sites in Matson and Podsmead after they became an independent housing association in 2015. The City Council transferred their housing stock to GCH when the government agreed to wipe out £50 million of historic housing debt.
“This is the next stage,” said Tim Dare “of our goal to work with our tenants and all stakeholders, to create modern, new homes which are more energy efficient and greener in communities where everyone can be proud. This has been a long running plan for GCH to be at the forefront of change, making homes and developments that really matter to residents. This collaboration is key to making the most of the land owned by different organisations, while accessing all funding available to maximise this opportunity in Matson and Podsmead.”
City Council leader Paul James added that “we’ve been working with GCH on this from the beginning, and as land owner, planning authority and as the only organisation focused entirely on the well-being of the city, I want to see us help respond to Podsmead and Matson’s needs and get this right. The impact should be considerable.”
Richard Graham stressed the backdrop was positive: “there are more investors than ever before in Gloucester, working on regeneration sites all across the city. In Podsmead we have the bid by the Crypt School for the first ever primary school in Podsmead, alongside the revived Athletics Track and an ambitious sports hub plan. In Matson there are already new homes being put up by GCH as part of the transfer of housing stock and debt write off agreement in 2015, and a (separate) big housing investment plan off Winnycroft Lane. If GCH can partner effectively with the right developer(s) I am convinced there will be a lot of positive change for the communities. Better shops, better health and skills access are all part of the mix. I’m delighted we all feel the same way.”
County Council leader Mark Hawthorne said, “it’s important that all organisations work together on this ambitious plan to support these communities. I’m glad we’ve published this strategy today that outlines what we plan to do and I look forward to seeing the results.”
The Statement aims to focus on stronger and safer communities, with a thriving local economy, a sustainable environment and better health and wellbeing all enabled around better homes
Photo shows Richard Graham (MP for Gloucester), Tim Dare (Chair of Gloucester City Homes), Cllr Paul James (Leader of Gloucester City Council) and Cllr Mark Hawthorne (Leader of Gloucestershire County Council) signing the Vision Statement alongside the City Council Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Colin Organ