Cheltenham Borough Homes has committed to a Neighbourhood Works scheme that will see a number of their residential sites undergo significant improvements, transforming tired and dismal outside spaces into community gardens with multi-use areas for residents.
idverde (contracted as The Landscape Group) was appointed by Cheltenham Borough Homes as their neighbourhood improvement contractor on a 5-year framework to undertake hard and soft surface renovations for their Neighbourhood Works schemes, commencing with Bush Court and Hobart House in 2012, continuing with Seacome and Lewis residences in 2013, and carrying out improvements to Coates and Elgar Houses in 2014.
Works carried out include:
- Site Clearance of soft landscaping including clearance of large shrubs, small trees, cutting back and pruning, excavation of top vegetative layer, stump grinding and weed killing
- Site clearance and breaking out of hard landscaping including concrete slabs and paths, paving slabs, concrete washing lines and fence posts
- Groundworks including excavations, trenches and making up levels by filling and backfilling
- Taking down and rebuilding of brickwork structures such as garages, sheds, walls and outhouses.
- Creation of new hard landscaping areas including hardstanding, tarmac and gravel paths with appropriate gravel stabilisation matting.
- Replacement of fencing and gates
- Creation of drying areas
- Creation of community gardens
- Tree planting
- Play area installation
- Security improvements
- Creation of dog exercise zones
- Street lighting installation
- Creation of communal planting areas for vegetables
Prior to any works commencing, the idverde team worked closely with Cheltenham Borough Homes to carry out neighbourhood consultations, which gave residents plenty of opportunity to review the plans and actively input their ideas. As a live residential site, it was essential that residents were kept informed about works and inconvenience to them minimised through consultation. To address this, we issued notifications of works with contact details and key information about the programme to all residents.
As an ongoing partner of Cheltenham Borough Homes, idverde takes part in events such as the annual Tenants Festival held at Cheltenham Town Hall. At these events the team is able to display works plans and answer any questions posed by residents. At the 2013 Tenants Festival our team also carried out a ‘Grow Your Own’ planting activity with residents, giving away over 150 mixed herb plants together with growing advice. Children were encouraged to participate too by creating ‘cress head’ pots. At later events, such as community children’s days during the school holidays, our teams have planted sunflowers and decorated plant pots with young residents.
idverde also provided support by creating a ‘Working in Partnership’ case study for Cheltenham Borough Homes to promote the benefits provided by the works and the great feedback provided by residents. This can be viewed here Partnership Working Case Study
The partnership with Cheltenham Borough Homes is an excellent example of where an ongoing partnership with a client and direct communication with residents has proven to be an effective approach to carrying out neighbourhood works with minimum disruption for stakeholders.