A regeneration masterplan could soon see the demolition of 22 properties in Plas Madoc – with the long term impact compared to the transformation of the Hightown flats area in Wrexham.
In a report due to go before Wrexham’s Council’s Executive Board on Tuesday, it is noted that some of the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) works in Plas Madoc are being paused. This has been put down to the belief that an ‘holistic view should be taken of the area and that wider issues should be resolved prior to the WHQS works commencing’.
In theory the WHQS work could consist of new roofing, kitchens, bathrooms and central heating to buildings that could then face demolition or remodelling in a few years time.
A ‘draft Estate Plan’ has been prepared for Plas Madoc and as a result of the plans an ‘early decision on demolition’ has been made for two sites. A joined up masterplan is preferred with previous ‘piecemeal demolitions’ noted as leaving areas as concrete bases or just grassed over resulting ‘in a poor environmental appearance in some areas of the estate’.
Current proposals will see 9 three storey properties in one block (Nos. 37 – 45) at Peris, and 13 three storey properties in two blocks (Nos. 3 – 7 and 55 – 62) at Gwynant be demolished.
Councillor Ian Roberts explained: “The blocks are difficult to let, they look atrocious and it is time for them to go.”
It is expected work will take place over the next 2-3 years, with a masterplan for Plas Madoc to be worked on over the coming decade which could vastly transform the estate. We are told the overall changes could have the impact as the removal of the Hightown flats and resulting new build housing and environment changes has had in town.
Of the 22 properties proposed for demolition, 18 are currently tenanted and managed by the Plas Madoc Estate Office. The remaining 4 properties are rented as ‘Temporary Homeless’ accommodation and managed by the Council’s Housing Options Team.
The report notes the permanent ‘decanting’ of tenants should be commenced immediately and tenants affected given priority over the general Waiting and Transfer Lists in the authority.
Wrexham Council Leader Mark Pritchard said: “These are still peoples homes, and we have to remember that and we have to treat tenants with the upmost respect.
“We have invested £54m in social housing stock in 2015/16 and we are showing our commitment to social housing in Wrexham to being up to the Welsh quality standard. We will continue to do this in the future as it is a rolling program.”
The demolition costs will be funded from the savings resulting in not needing to bring the properties up to WHQS, and therefore avoid any double spending.
Councillor Neil Rogers was keen to stress the impact the plans will have on the local economy, explaining that local businesses can go through the bidding process for the work that is to take place.
A hint of the further plans is given in a list of other works, with the results likely to ‘impact all residents’ – in a presumably positive manner!
- Opportunity for unpopular properties to be redesigned
- Small gardens to be redesigned to offer better space where possible
- Poor landscaping to be redesigned
- Formalised parking areas to be provided
- Public spaces can be redesigned
- Opportunity for new build housing to be provided.
The report also says: “If Members approve this report, further consultation will be held with local residents, including public meetings and face to face discussions in order to ensure that the redesign meets their needs.”
Council Officers will also bring a further report on new-build proposals when available, with more details of the overall plan to emerge over the coming years.