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Pickles visits PRS tower block transformations

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Development

Pickles visits PRS tower block transformations Pickles visits PRS tower block transformations

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has visited Ancoats in Manchester to see the Three Towers project, which is transforming formerly derelict tower blocks into new homes for the private rental market.

Work is currently taking place to provide 192 new one and two-bed apartments in the Chippenham, Saltford and Rodney Court towers.

The buildings have been empty for many years, with previous attempts to redevelop them stalling as a result of the economic downturn.

The project to bring the towers back into use is being delivered in partnership between Manchester City Council, Ancoats Residential Holdings and Rowlinsons Construction, and was kick-started by a build to rent loan approved by the Homes & Communities Agency - the first development in the country to be approved for such a loan.

The blocks have been stripped inside and out, and work is now underway to entirely refurbish the structures, incorporating significant energy efficient measures designed to reduce both carbon emissions and minimise energy bills.

The new apartments are being designed to maximise use of the available space in the buildings, with layouts being remodelled to create large and bright living spaces.

Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, toured the interior of one of the buildings and was taken up to the roof, where he was shown the transformation of Ancoats and the surrounding areas.

The MP also met some of the apprentices who have been employed to work on the scheme.

David Chilton, Greater Manchester’s head of area at the HCA, said: "This development will provide much-needed new homes for local people, and will play a major part in the ongoing revival of this part of Manchester. The project demonstrates that the HCA is able to provide valuable, targeted support to bring forward new homes that will play a vital role in helping the city to meet its economic growth ambitions."

Nigel Rawlings, chief executive of project managers Housing Capital Trust, said: “The Three Towers, which have suffered dereliction for nearly twenty years, are being completely transformed both internally and externally to provide modern, secure and efficient apartments built specifically for rent. This fantastic project would not have been possible without the build to rent funding from the HCA and considerable additional support from Manchester City Council.”

The redevelopment works will be completed on the Saltford block by December 2014, with completion on the other two blocks by March 2015.

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