In West Yorkshire, Riverside is working with
Wakefield Council to transform the lives of residents on a
former mining estate in the District by tackling anti-social
behaviour and revitalising the neighbourhood by building a £3
million affordable housing development in partnership with
Crigglestone is a small estate made up of approximately 100
pre-war mixed tenure properties. The estate, formally owned
by the National Coal Board, is situated eight miles from Wakefield
Whilst Crigglestone sits in a relatively
affluent residential area, it is unique in that the estate has high
levels of unemployment mainly due to is isolated location and lack
of employment opportunities. There were also high levels of
anti-social behaviour. The Council assisted us in tackling issues
related to these matters.
In April 2007, Riverside (known then as Bowlee
Park Housing) took over the management of 70 properties on the
The estate was formerly known as Painthorpe
but we have changed it to Crigglestone to remove the stigma that
had become associated with the name of the estate and put to rest
the image of a poor quality housing estate in decline. This will
serve to celebrate the new identity of the area.
The physical regeneration began with a £180,000 boundary wall
project funded by Wakefield Strategic Housing, which was completed
in March 2010.
In April 2010, construction work started on a new development of
25 mixed tenure homes. Part funded by the Homes and Communities
Agency’s National Affordable Housing Programme, the development
will comprise a mix of three-bedroom family homes and two-bedroom
bungalows. Of these, 17 will be for social rent with the remaining
eight available to buy through shared ownership.
The development will achieve three stars in the Code for
Sustainable Homes through features such as enhanced insulation and
solar panels. It will also meet Building for Life standards. These
are built on the belief that good quality housing design can
improve social wellbeing and quality of life by reducing crime,
improving public health, easing transport problems and increasing
The development will also include a community
garden, which has been designed by local schoolchildren in
partnership with Groundwork.
Riverside was instrumental in setting up
Painthorpe Tasking Group (PTG) to crackdown on anti-social
behaviour. Members include West Yorkshire Police, Wakefield Fire
Service, Wakefield Anti-Social Behaviour Unit, Wakefield Youth
Offending Team and the charity National Children’s Home (NCH). The
multi-agency approach combines enforcement with support for example
if parents are struggling to control youngsters or have other
social problems that exacerbate the situation, agencies like the
NCH step in to help.
Since then, we have helped to secure a
Dispersal Order, which gives police the power to move people on or
split up groups on the street, as well as taking young people to
their home or a safe place if they are out after 9pm.
We also helped secure an Anti-Social Behaviour
Order (ASBO) against a 15-year-old boy. Under the terms of the
order, the teenager is banned from large parts of his home patch
after he engaged in “extremely serious anti-social acts”.
Using funding from our Community Chest, we have invested in a
number of events to keep youngsters off the streets for example
sporting activities in the summer holidays and a Halloween party on
We have also held several community engagement
days from a meet the staff day, community action day and neighbours
day to a fire awareness session and parenting classes.
We have appointed an on-site Service Delivery
Officer to offer support and advice for tenants and help to set up
residents and partners groups.
We have refurbished a house to use as a
central point for community meetings.
Arson attacks, vandalism and intimidation were
once commonplace in Crigglestone but since Riverside took over the
properties in 2007, the number of calls to the fire brigade have
dropped from an average of 40 a month to two and reports of crime
and damage have more than halved.
In 2008, Riverside was singled out for praise
by the Home Office, not only for its family-friendly housing and
community schemes, but also for its contribution to a sizeable drop
New initiatives led by Riverside were held up
as a model by the annual ‘Crime in England and Wales 2007/08’
report, for other communities working to reduce anti-social
behaviour and crime.
The Home Office praised Riverside for its
partnership approach to improving tenants’ quality of life. It
cites Riverside’s parenting programmes, community action weeks and
sporting activities throughout the school holidays as key factors
in the drop in crime.
As a result of the reduction in ASB,
Crigglestone has become a more desirable place to live. When
Riverside first took over the properties, there was a high turnover
(between March 2006 and March 2008, more than half of the tenants
terminated their tenancies), and the estate was being considered
for demolition, but now we have a healthy waiting list.
Riverside successfully transformed the Langley
estate in Middleton, Greater Manchester, from the estate with the
highest instances of low level crime and youth nuisance in the
whole borough of Rochdale to that of the lowest.
Using the lessons learnt from here, Riverside
applied the tried and tested methods to Crigglestone.
Following a 98% success rate in the use of
Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs) in Langley, Riverside has
already set up eight ABCs in Crigglestone. Young people with a
background of misbehaving sign a contract promising to improve
their behaviour. If they breach that contract, they could be served
with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO). In Langley, out of an
average of 42 contracts signed each year, only one has gone on to
receive an ASBO in the last five years.