‘Sign of confidence’ as scheme for 400 homes gets green light

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DEVELOPERS are poised to build 400 houses on site of former college in Hull, in one of the biggest housebuilding schemes in the west of the city in years.

The move comes after the Government finally signed off on an announcement made more than a year ago to allocate £8m from the Regional Growth Fund towards regeneration schemes in the west of the city.

The Riley College development will provide a total of 401 homes, with around 20 per cent social housing.

In all Keepmoat, the council’s development partner, will be building 1,200 homes over the next 13 years, with the council putting in around £9m and Keepmoat £118m. Residents have been finding out more about the scheme at a mobile exhibition.

Coun John Black, housing portfolio holder, said: “It is a good day because from the Government making an announcement that there was £8m available to actually getting the deal signed and delivered has taken almost 12 months.

“Now we have got it confirmed that we have got the money, we want to work very quickly to get the schemes off the ground and I know the partnership, Keepmoat and the local authority are committed to hitting the ground running.

“Because it was announced 12 months ago, that has caused is a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Effectively today is demonstrating that we mean business.”

However Government cuts had robbed the area of a far larger scheme. Coun Black said: “At the back of our minds is the fact that the original amount that was pledged was over £100m, for Newington and St Andrews and for the Ings.

“Any amount of money is welcome but we can’t forget that the scheme was a much bigger scheme and that this was abandoned.”

The use of the land for housing has already been approved through the area action plan process, but the number of homes and the design of the new estate will still have to go before the council’s planning committee.

If that goes through, work should start on site in the autumn.

Some residents who live nearby expressed concern about the number of houses, which they said had gone up from the 290 originally proposed, and were worried about access to the site through Parkfield Drive and Springfield Road, and the impact on the already busy Anlaby Road.

The site, between Anlaby Road, Alliance Avenue and Spring Bank West, was originally Riley High School.

After its closure in the 1980s it became an annexe of Hull College.

When the college moved out the site was cleared before being formally included as part of the Gateway regeneration plans for Newington and St Andrews.

However other hope it will boost the area and bring in new retailers to Anlaby Road.

Brian Witty, who has lived in the area for 40 years, said: “Broadly speaking I am in favour. I think it will do the area good.”

Construction should create hundreds of jobs over the coming years. James Smith, partnerships manager for Keepmoat, said existing schemes already employed more than 50 per cent of local workers.

Hull Council’s housing strategy and renewal manager Garry Taylor said the developers would have to submit a detailed traffic assessment to planners. He said the estate had been designed to avoid it becoming a rat run, and would be a 20mph zone.

He said: “It brings 400 new houses into the city of Hull which are desperately needed in terms of revitalising the stock, providing much needed accomodation to bring people into the city of Hull as well as allowing people to ‘step up’ within their community.

“It is an incredible sign of confidence.

“This is an area that has not seen this scale of new housing in 50 years.”