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Development | Griffin Regeneration Area

The Griffin regeneration area in Blackburn is benefiting from £670,000 from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) Land Release Fund, which is managed by the One Public Estate (OPE) programme, to carry out new highways access and land remediation work which will accelerate the release of land for 140 new family homes and help regenerate the local area.

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  • Region: North West, West Midlands
  • Theme: Housing (in OPE), Land Release Fund (LRF)

The challenge

The Griffin regeneration area had been identified for clearance and redevelopment as part of the Housing Market Renewal programme in 2008. 

Following the demise of the HMR programme the challenge was to bring forward housing on an unviable brownfield site which had land contamination issues and historic utilities disconnection challenges.

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Local Plan demonstrates the need for a five year supply of housing sites. There are suitable sites available and in many cases with planning permission being in place, but delivery of some brownfield sites is slow/stalled due to challenging viability, especially in the high density areas.

The story so far

The Griffin re-development was planned to be carried out in two phases to minimise road closures and traffic disruption for the area whilst ensuring that residents were not unduly affected by the building programme.

Work started on the Shakespeare Way land parcel (previously phase2) as site remediation and preparation for the smaller parcel was carried out reasonably quickly.

The Shakespeare Way scheme consists of 56 new homes for affordable rent and shared ownership (via Plumlife). 15 of the two, three and four-bed homes are for shared ownership, with the remaining 41 homes for affordable rent.

Lancs Griffin Housing

All homes for rent were occupied as soon as they were built. For the shared ownership properties, the Registered Provider received 300 enquiries. All 15 properties were sold within three months of scheme completion.

The properties included two-bed bungalows, two-bed homes, three-bed homes and four-bed detached homes. Prices ranged from £130,000 to £205,000 with an average share purchased at 45 per cent.

Demand (as expected) was for larger family homes, with a higher than usual number of cash buyers looking to become home owners.

The remainder of the site now known as phase 2 is undergoing preparation in readiness for development. A higher number than normal constraints had been identified in this parcel of land around historic utilities, cables, wiring that had been left in situ through previous clearance programmes. Additional work had to be undertaken due to these constraints and a need to carry out a Compulsory Purchase Order of two properties and some added unsightly land which was being used for fly tipping.

A revised scheme layout is being prepared for this parcel and a planning application is planned to be submitted in late summer.

Experience of demand from the first phase has helped to shape the type and tenure mix to allow the provision of family homes that will meet local aspiration and need.   

Phase 2 is planned to offer more market sale housing in line with local demand. This phase of development will also include additional environmental treatment and public realm works to create a holistic development which connects the two new housing phases with the existing terraced housing.

The outcomes

Hard benefits:

- Unlock 4 hectares of brownfield land and accelerate the delivery of new homes

- Phase 1 delivery of 56 affordable homes for rent and shared ownership family homes comprising of 2, 3 and 4 bed houses and bungalows.

- Phase 2 to provide another 80+ family homes for market sale, private rent and affordable homes for rent and shared ownership

- Additional investment to be provided for community benefit project in adjacent existing housing area.
Softer benefits:

- Public realm improvements to the area for new and existing residents and an opportunity to diversify the local population by attracting new economically active residents

- Improved open space and connectivity for local residents who have been surrounded by high density poor quality housing and poor local amenities

- Complete redevelopment of a regeneration site delayed due to HMR programme ending

- Contribute to a reduction in anti-social behaviour, fly tipping and nuisance

- The preferred developer will be working with the community to finalise open space and environment improvements in the area

For further information please contact our Regional Programme Managers for the North West and West Midlands whose details can be found on the OPE contacts page.