Another milestone has been reached in the transformation of Marsh Farm, in Luton, as eleven homes were formally handed over to residents.
On Tuesday, October 1, councillors and staff from Luton Council, staff from ENGIE, the contractor and development business responsible for the delivery of the Marsh Farm regeneration project were on hand to witness a key moment in the scheme.
All the new houses meet the government’s affordable homes criteria. Two of them are four-bedroom homes dedicated to families with disabilities.
Included in the special features is a ground floor double bedroom and a wet room with capacity for a through floor lift to enable users to have access to all parts of the home.
The properties have been built to life time homes standards.
Over several years, Luton and ENGIE have been reshaping the central area of Marsh Farm to provide a modern retail and residential heart to the centre.
Phase 1, which was completed in September 2017, saw the provision of six new retail units with modern facilities, and 24 new apartments.
This attractive, modern structure has already had a remarkable impact on the area, providing key local facilities that have significantly contributed towards the life of the community.
The second phase was the pulling down of the Purley Centre which had, over time, become run down.
This demolition paved the way for the final phase which includes the eleven new houses built.
A major part of the third phase will be completed later this year when 83 will become available for residents.
The scheme, which has provided jobs and apprenticeships for local people, was designed in partnership with the Marsh Farm Steering Group which consisted of residents, businesses and key stakeholders from the Marsh Farm estate.
The project epitomises the council’s commitment to regenerating Luton in line with its investment framework, attracting new businesses and providing skills, training and jobs for residents.
One individual who has seized the opportunity provided by the Marsh Farm regeneration programme is Sophie Kettle.
Once a pupil at nearby Lea Manor High, she is now the assistant site manager, having joined the team as an apprentice three years ago.
Talking of her experience working with ENGIE, Sophie said: “This project has given me a career and the skills needed to become a successful young trainee in the construction industry.”
Tom Shaw, portfolio for housing at Luton Council, said: “The transformation of Marsh Farm in the last few years has been truly remarkable.
"I am delighted that residents are moving in to somewhere they can call home and proud that Luton is continuing in the great tradition, began 100 years ago of good quality, affordable council housing.
“This next phase of the project will see the welcome addition of over 80 homes to our growing affordable housing stock, demonstrating our resolve to meet the housing needs of the people of Luton.”
Andy Collyer, Business Development Director of London & South Developments at ENGIE added: “It is fantastic to see the significant progress of this project after years of hard work.
“We are delighted that residents will soon be able to move into their new homes and are proud to deliver the latest phase of high-quality, affordable housing.
"Giving local people in the area a chance to gain valuable work experience on the project is also extremely important to us and we are excited to see Marsh Farm flourish in years to come.”
It is expected that the first residents will be able to move in to the flats from December.