The Ings area of East Hull was dominated by non-traditional council houses, with estates of system-built Caspon homes rapidly constructed in the 1960s to meet the housing needs of the city’s increasing population.
The estates had problems from the outset. The layout followed the once-popular Radburn principles, where vehicles and pedestrians are segregated using alleyways and subways to provide the best solution to rising car ownership. An unintended consequence was increased crime and anti-social behaviour due to Ings’ unlit paths, hidden spaces and garages located away from people’s homes.
The houses themselves overlooked each other and suffered from structural issues even before they began to deteriorate, with thin walls making them noisy and expensive to heat.
Hull City Council’s vision was to transform Ings into a new urban village, creating an attractive, modern community influenced by nearby Sutton and Garden Village. A new neighbourhood park at the centre of the scheme will link directly with Bluebell Fields, a key community green space.
Compendium Living – a joint venture between Lovell and Riverside to undertake large-scale residential and mixed-use developments – was appointed as the lead developer partner in 2013. The multi-million pound regeneration project forms part of a strategic long-term partnership with Hull City Council and the Together Housing Group.
The Ings project will provide over 700 sustainable new homes. The first phase, which is now complete and fully occupied, consisted of 65 contemporary new homes for rent, shared ownership and outright sale. The second phase – 83 affordable homes for Together Housing – is due for completion in spring 2018 and will offer a mix of two and three-bedroom houses for affordable rent and shared ownership. Work started on our third phase, consisting of 64 homes for open market sale and four affordable bungalows, in July 2017.
Keeping the Ings community informed is an important aspect of the project for both ourselves and Hull City Council. On our first site, The Leeway 1, we liaised regularly with residents at Muswell Court, a local council tower block for older people which was directly opposite the site. We attended regular drop-ins to share what we were doing, and liaised with the building caretaker to ensure that any disruption was kept to a minimum. We also donated fencing for their community garden and gave kitchen equipment to their residents’ association as a thank-you for their goodwill during the works.
As well as pre-planning consultations for each phase of the building work, we hold information open days at least once a year to remind local people of the current plans and inform them about our progress so far. Using local suppliers and subcontractors to support the wider community is a key part of our contribution to Hull’s wider economic growth. More than 50 construction contractors and suppliers from the Hull area attended a two-day Meet the Buyer event in February 2014, giving them the opportunity to find out more about the construction programme and meet representatives from Compendium Living and Hull City Council.
We are working closely with Hull Training, local agency Construction Works and other employment services in the area to provide employment and training opportunities for the community wherever possible, providing a direct boost to the local economy.
Two apprentices were taken on during our first phase, with one continuing with us onto later phases. More will be recruited as the project progresses. We also hosted weeklong work experience placements on the site for six Hull Training and Education students. In March 2016, 20 students from Hull Training Centre visited the site as part of their studies. They had a chance to meet the site team and gain valuable knowledge about careers in the construction industry and site safety.
As part of our commitment to leaving a lasting legacy in the communities where we work, in June 2016 we presented £300 each to two local charities. Emmaus Hull offers a home and meaningful work to people who were formerly homeless, while Autism Plus supports people with autism, learning disabilities and mental health conditions across Yorkshire and Humber. We also supported Hull City Council’s annual ‘make a hanging basket’ workshops. Ings residents who attend receive free hanging baskets, plants and compost to help them brighten up their homes.
Compendium Living is supporting an intergeneration project across Ings for Hull’s year as City of Culture, in partnership with RSL Together Housing and social enterprise NewGround.