Much ado about housing in Rhydyfelin!
Shakespeare Rise is a Newydd Housing project to update what is currently void housing stock and bring it back into a beneficial use. The Shakespeare Rise project comprises three blocks of one bedroom flats, being eighteen flats in total. The project will involve a full refurbishment of the empty housing blocks and will help to rejuvenate the wider estate.
There have previously been concerns about the flats and local area and it has been stigmatised through past issues of vandalism and anti-social behaviour. The co-operative approach was the best solution for these blocks, as it provides for a more tenant–led approach as well as having the support and investment of Newydd. Co-operative housing is community led housing, managed in accordance with co-operative values and principles. It encourages and supports local community control over housing and neighbourhoods.
An open day for local residents and prospective tenants, to share their views and offer suggestions, recently took place. Participants at the event were asked to provide feedback on the proposals, including their views on the positives and negatives. While the negatives included the previous reputation of the estate, concerns about anti-social behaviour and communal areas, the positives certainly seemed to offset these. These included a sense of ownership, community spirit and having a secure place to live. The sense of tenants’ control was also clear, with ‘everyone having an equal say’, ‘sharing the management’ and ‘making decisions about the flats’ all being listed as positive aspects of a community led approach.
Newydd are now working with potential co-operative housing tenants. They will pre-allocate properties and provide training to help them develop as a co-operative. This will help them to develop skills to run the co-operative and provide them with training opportunities and to get to know each other before they move in. This also gives potential tenants the chance to be involved in the targeted recruitment and training opportunities that will be provided through the redevelopment. The flats should be ready for the new tenants to move into during Summer 2016.
The Wales Co-operative Centre’s Co-operative Housing Project has supported Newydd with this project. We and the Confederation of Co-operative Housing have provided support and training to Newydd staff and stakeholders. We look forward to continuing to work with Newydd and the future co-operative members to turn these empty flats into successful co-operative homes.