I Love Regeneration Grange Farm Estate Independent Tenant Advisor (ITA)
Just after Valentines Day 2015, One Enterprise Ltd was appointed as the ITA for Grange Farm, which is part of the Harrow-on-the-Hill ward in the London Borough of Harrow (LBH).
The mixed use estate consists of 260 tenants, leaseholders and a small number of freeholders. There are some bungalows, but the majority of the flats are 1960’s non-traditional construction known as “resiform” (large panel system built) and are now nearing the end of their economic life.
With the support of residents and a Steering Group (SG) a decision has been taken to completely redevelop the neighbourhood, which has the potential to create twice as many new homes on the site.
The One Enterprise Team
The ITA team is lead by Raj, Director at One Enterprise Ltd and includes:
• Chantelle Barker (community engagement)
• John Harvey (urban regeneration and recruitment)
• Tim Chaudhry (development and planning)
The Steering Group
The Steering Group came about after LBH started consultation with the whole community at Grange Farm. In order to have in-depth resident involvement, LBH asked for volunteers who would be prepared to give up more time to work closely with them on the regeneration proposals. 18 residents volunteered and formed the Steering Group (SG).
Most of the SG had no or very limited previous experience of tenant participation or resident engagement. In fact very few of the members actually knew each other – proving those theories about “London living” can be true! From this opening position, the SG has performed remarkably well in a very short period of time. They have learned to work together, acting as a team and creating a supportive environment for each other.
“Selfless for the greater good” sums up one of the most important elements for the success of the regeneration, that the SG acts for the wider current resident base and also thinks about future residents who will form part of the redevelopment in the years to come.
Our primary work is to support the SG – to enable them to play the vital role of working with and holding to account LBH, the architects and the developer – to ensure that they deliver what the residents want.
And what the residents want can be summed up in three very short phrases:
• a home for everyone
• building the best neighbourhood in Harrow and one of best developments in London
• creating a great place to live, that is happy and safe
There’s only one word to describe the SG and that is “fantastic”! They have come out to all the meetings, given up their time and most importantly contributed in a very constructive and thoughtful manner.
The ITA work to date has involved:
• developing the Terms of Reference and a Code of Conduct
• defining roles and responsibilities
• recruitment and selection training
• team building
• offering one to one support
• engaging with the wider community
• helping to agree the LBH’s key promises to residents
• understanding the council’s approach to ASB • interviewing for the architect
• undertaking a tour of a similar regeneration project
• considering the wider social and economic benefits of regeneration.
The SG members have attended approximately 20 meetings over a 5 month period. Already this collectively adds up to over 1000 hours of time devoted towards helping to deliver a successful regeneration programme.
The challenge over the next few months is to ensure the big picture ambitions are captured and used to drive forward the regeneration, which include:
• ensuring the architect’s design team works effectively with the SG and fully engages with the wider community
• that Grange Farm is an exemplar landmark regeneration that really enhances South Harrow and integrates well with the surrounding infrastructure
• putting plans into place now to deal with current ASB issues
• developing a management and maintenance service, which is funded, robust and able to offer a one stop service to all residents regardless of their tenure.
We are thoroughly enjoying our work with the residents and this is what they said about us:
Kenneth Woods, Chairman Grange Farm regeneration Steering Group
“I can heartily recommend the services of “ONE ENTERPRISE Ltd”. We had to choose from 3 companies who had submitted their credentials and interest in obtaining the workload required in guiding such a group through all the necessary and intricate details. We are sure that our decision has been the correct one. Raj and Chantelle, have been the two people we have had mentoring us and I can give assurance of them being totally involved and immersed in this massive project. Everyone within the Steering Group would agree that they are with us at every step of the way. One could not choose a better company than ONE ENTERPRISE Ltd.”
Bill Beardon, Vice Chair Grange Farm regeneration Steering Group
“We were all new to being members of a steering group for the regeneration of our estate and from the moment we saw the team at the interviews we knew we had the team we needed to assist us. Raj works tirelessly for our group and is always available, I’m sure he puts more time in than he contracted to. The knowledge and persona of his team is extremely helpful to us and we have all agreed that without his team we would not be as comfortable with the roles we have, we have all grown in knowledge and confidence that will enable us to bring the new estate we need and want, but our way not someone else’s way. We highly recommend anyone needing guidance to give One Enterprise Ltd a go, you won’t be disappointed.”
Debbie Jules, Secretary Grange Farm regeneration Steering Group
“This company has performed professionally towards all concerned in the forthcoming regeneration. They have taught us knowledge of how to deal with such a task and what to avoid and aim for. They are very competent, skilled and highly recommended in any future programme requested of them.”
LBH recognises the importance of proper resident involvement in this scheme and have really pulled out the stops to support the SG. Paul Mullins, Senior Project Manager with LBH (in the blue shirt at the back) has facilitated the positive relationship with residents and should be credited for building up the level of trust that exists on this regeneration project.
Other staff from LBH have come along to discuss issues with the SG, including:
• Steven Weston, Housing Operations Manager (pictured below) came with his colleage Susan Simon, ASB Officer to explain the Council’s approach to ASB.
• Alison Pegg, Head of Asset Strategy and Regeneration (pictured below) has attended a number of events with the residents and driven the “Homes for Harrow” agenda.
• Funmi Nwagagbo, Resident Involvement Officer (front left) has made new links with hard to reach groups.
Its good to see the local politicians are playing their part by having a very clear vision of how they want to improve the whole of Harrow, which includes the “Homes for Harrow” plans.
Councillor Glen Hearden, Portfolio Holder for Housing has attended a number of events and participated with residents in the selection of the architect.
Grange Farm is now one of the very few resiform estates remaining in London and has attracted attention from many different groups and individuals, including:
• Veronika a second year student from the Architectural Association University has spent almost a year of her own time looking into Grange Farm as a case study.
• June a local Harrow resident is a final year student at Goldsmiths University on a Masters Photography and Urban Culture course. She is ensuring the history of the estate is not lost by undertaking short interviews and photographing residents, as well as capturing images of the estate as a whole.
It is also hoped Grange Farm will be part of the Open House event that encourages the public to visit homes of architectural or cultural value.
The Real Work
It’s true we will only know the real benefit of all our initial efforts once demolition starts 2016/17 onwards. Then residents will be living on a building site, not the easiest thing to do. Families will be decanted elsewhere during the work with the option to return to Grange Farm once it is complete or take a permanent offer elsewhere. The regeneration programme is likely to last between five to seven years.
There is no denying that there will be challenges ahead, but if everyone pulls together, the regeneration will happen with limited disruption and lead to highly successful outcomes. For ITA and the regeneration proposals as a whole, it’s the opposite of the “perfect storm” as we have had the perfect start – residents, LBH & architects working together with an openness I have not encountered in a long-time. So it’s no exaggeration when we say we are truly loving this regeneration!
Below you can see the SG during a visit to A2Dominion’s Green Man Lane redevelopment in West Ealing.