The Bids Are In For £108m Stoke-on-Trent PFI Housing Project

Stoke-on-Trent City Council will now analyse details from a number of companies who applied for the extra care housing programme, after a European tendering deadline passed last week.

The council placed a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union – the publication that all public sector tenders for major projects must be published to – in November, to start the process to design, build, finance and operate the homes.

The scheme will deliver much needed extra care housing in the city – where older people can live independently and have the option of round the clock personal care, should they require it. The scheme gives residents the chance to prepare for their housing need in the future, and provides privacy and security. The homes also have communal facilities, open to both residents and the wider community, such as hair salons, gyms and cafes, to foster support networks and reduce social isolation.

Bidders were invited to submit details of their experience and ability to deliver such a major contract. As part of the process, the council held a bidder’s conference on 7 December, where around 85 companies met the council’s team to find out more about the programme.

Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for regeneration, said

We have had a number of responses and are now working through the submissions of pre-qualification questionnaires by bidding parties.

We will now be conducting a process of assessment to select up to six consortia to discuss their proposals to deliver the scheme. Given the tight bidding timescales we are pleased to have achieved this first step on time

The sites allocated for the 390 new homes are

  • Holdcroft Fields, Holdcroft Road, Abbey Hulton.
  • Blurton Farm/Brookwood site, Consett Road, Blurton.
  • Turnhurst Road, opposite Selbourne Drive, Chell.

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Councillor Gwen Hassall, cabinet member for housing and neighbourhoods, said

This is another key milestone in delivering such a major, exciting project. Our city has an ageing population and these units are vitally important to help meet demand for supported accommodation for our residents.

 

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Requesting Bids For £108m Housing Project

Bidders are being given the chance to explain how they would deliver a £108m programme to build 390 new homes for older people.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has placed a notice with the Official Journal of the European Union – the publication that all public sector tenders for major projects must be published to – to start the process to design, build, finance and operate the homes.

The scheme will deliver much needed ‘extra care’ housing in the city – where older people can live independently and have the option of round the clock personal care, should they require it. The scheme gives residents the chance to prepare for their housing need in the future, and provides privacy and security. The homes also have communal facilities, open to both residents and the wider community such as hair salons, gyms and cafes, to foster support networks and reduce social isolation.

The notice will start the process to find a consortium to deliver the programme, and follows an announcement at the end of July from the Homes and Communities Agency that the council’s scheme could continue, after a vigorous assessment of all PFI projects across the country.

Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for regeneration, said

This is a major step forward for the programme and the scheme represents a significant investment for the city. It is a major part of our Mandate for Change commitment to promote healthy lives and make Stoke-on-Trent a great place to live.  We will also consider and encourage bids that use local suppliers and the local workforce – we are committed to bringing investment into our city and fostering job opportunities for local people.

The notice invites bidders to submit details of their experience and ability to deliver such a major contract. As part of the process, the council will hold a bidder’s conference on Wednesday 7 December, for companies to meet the council’s team and find out more about the programme. Bidders have until 22 December to submit their details, and evaluation of the bids will take place during January 2012. Building work is expected to start in 2013.

Councillor Gwen Hassall, cabinet member for housing and neighbourhoods, said

Our city has an ageing population, and these units are vitally important to help meet demand for supported accommodation for our residents. The publication of the notice is a significant step forward in delivering such a major, and exciting, project.

The sites allocated for the 390 new homes are: Holdcroft Fields, Holdcroft Road, Abbey Hulton. Former Brookwood Home and Blurton Farm Depot, Consett Road, Blurton. Former Westcliffe Hospital, Turnhurst Road, Chell. The programme will build on existing schemes in the city, including the 75-unit Rowan Village in Meir and the 100-unit West End Village scheme in Stoke.

For more information about the bidders conference, interested groups should contact Alex Brookes at Stoke-on-Trent City Council. 

500 Words From Brian Ward

Why should anyone vote for us as councillors and why should you read my 500 words?

Criticism and negative press constantly points out how the council gets everything wrong.
When I stood for council eight years ago I wanted to get elected because I thought exactly the same as many others, and that you would be hard pushed to do any worse. I believed the constant voting in of the same old Labour people, time and time again had made them complacent.

There seemed to be no vision for the city and no urgency in replacing the lost jobs and businesses.

There seemed to be no interest in banging on the governments door for funding to bring inward investment to our city, even though we had three Labour MPs.

I was elected twice in 2003 & 2007 and hope to be re-elected again in 2011 even though the Governance Commission and Boundary Commission have, in my opinion, tried their best to eliminate all but Mainstream parties by going against their own guidelines and dividing established communities and ignoring natural boundaries. We can only hope that it doesn’t decrease people’s choice in this election.

When I was newly elected, I was constantly frustrated at the time it took to get anything done.

This was something I was not used to in my past life when running my own businesses.
I learned how to use the council system to my best advantage, to achieve the best possible.
I have been able to get lots of benefits for my local area of Blurton with new jobs, new shops, new housing, Parking bays and numerous other things to improve the Blurton area.

I have highlighted problem issues and fought for what I believed to be right,

not only for my area, but our city. I have highlighted them on Pits n Pots and have been quoted in the Sentinel now fewer than 368 times in the last two and a half years alone.

I have persevered,

even when I felt that I was getting nowhere on certain issues, but, I never give up and always see things through to make sure I get the best deal available, like setting up the working group that reduced consultants, which has saved us a fortune.

I have been involved in several meetings in London and Birmingham banging the drum for Stoke, which I believe has been neglected in the past. There needs to be more done.

Regeneration will be the key to putting our city back on the map

although I have voiced my views several times where I think that Regeneration has been too slow.
The council needs to push the Government even harder to make sure Stoke-on-Trent gets Enterprise Zone status to improve our situation.

Although this year’s budget settlement has been severe and difficult to manage,

we were able to save Children’s centres, Respite care for disabled children along with many front line services that other councils have reduced. Also put a freeze on council tax.

Incoming councillors will be faced with the stark reality of finding next years £20million savings. This will need some skill and a lot of hard work and I hope I am there to help get the best deal available.

Don’t forget I am a resident and taxpayer and what affects you affects me.

Brian Ward
Leader of the City Independents
Blurton Ward Councillor

500 Words From Nina Hulse

Hi All,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself my name is Georgina Hulse (better known as Nina). I have put myself forward as a candidate for the forthcoming election as an Independent (Non-Aligned to any political groups).

I am a young 60, married with 4 grown up children, and a step daughter, 9 grandchildren and a 10th on the way. I have lived in Blurton for 50 years. Having seen many changes there, on the whole many have been for the better with a few not so good.

With help from local residents and housing staff we formed Old Blurton community association in 1999. I currently run Blurton Community centre with a lot of help from volunteers from the community.

I have undertaken a few projects over the last 11 years to help improve Blurton. having a Toddlers Play Area built on land were 4 houses were demolished, a Multi use Games Area built on land at Blurton Primary school. My biggest challenge recently with support from the City Council, Sure Start Blurton, and the community was to secure funding to build the privately run Blurton Community centre on Oakwood Road.

I have also worked with Residents Associations at Blurton farm, Hollybush and Newstead on projects, including the play area’s that were built on each of the estates. I have worked closely with our Neighbourhood Policing Unit over the last few years as well as the present Blurton & Newstead Councillor Roy Naylor.

I strongly believe that Blurton does not start or end in Old Blurton, and to make a difference to all we need to work together.

If elected I will do everything possible to make life better for all. A vote for me is a vote for a local Lady who knows Blurton and more importantly cares about Blurton & Newstead and its residents, its concerns and wellbeing. If elected you can be sure I will respect your confidentiality and continue the work done by Cllr Naylor to help transform Blurton & Newstead.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you have any questions you would like to put to me, then please contact me on 07526 110218.

Many Thanks

Nina Hulse.

Roy Naylor Councillor For Blurton Announces Retirement

Audio Interview Now Online

Councillor Roy Naylor has announced that he will not be standing in the May Elections due to health reasons.

COMMUNITY INFO: It is with Sadness and regret that I have today taken the decission on health grounds not to Stand again at this Election.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all that have supported me over the last 3 years, it has been a pleasure to work for you

Cllr Naylor had previously stated his intention to stand against his form City Independent Group Leader Cllr Brian Ward in the new ward of Blurton West & Newstead.

This May all 44 of the newly formed wards will be contested following a controversial Boundary Commission review of the City.

Cllr Naylor gave Pits n Pots his first interview following his announcement.

Listen Below.

Information Cafe To Be A Help To Residents In Blurton

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is to hold a special information café for residents in Blurton next week.

The event, to be held at St Alban’s Community Centre on Finstock Avenue, takes place on Thursday 6 January between 10am and 12pm.

Throughout the morning there will be information on training, jobs, employment, home improvements, family issues and ways to maximize income.

The café is intended to create an informal atmosphere to put residents at ease and give them a chance to share their concerns with staff from the city council’s South Western Neighbourhood Management Team, who have organised the day along with the community centre.

“The new year can sometimes be a difficult time for people, especially when the Christmas atmosphere has died down and our residents need to look at what lies ahead.

“Anyone who has any concerns about their financial or job situation can come along and talk to our staff, who will be able to point them in the right direction for jobs, new training or how to get the most out of the money they are earning at the moment.”

Free hot drinks and oatcakes will be provided throughout the morning.

Pre-Council Meeting Demo ““ A Peaceful Protest

A peaceful protest outside the Civic Centre in Stoke yesterday was a far cry from the scenes witnessed in London.

A group of about 60 turned out in support of the Save Our Children’s Centres group who were protesting at the councils proposals to close 7 of the 16 centres which could potentially realise a saving of £750,000 to the Local Authority.

Over 200 hundred staff have already been told whether their posts have been “Ëœsaved’, “Ëœpooled’ or indeed “Ëœdeleted’ should the council choose to proceed with the proposals.

Council chiefs still insist that no final decisions have been made and that a city wide consultation is still on-going. The final outcome will not be known until the council learn the true extent in the cuts in funding handed down from central government following their recent Comprehensive Spending Review.

Roy Naylor, the former City Independent Councillor now Non-Aligned, is fighting the Group’s cause within the civic and was in attendance to lend his support at the protest yesterday [Thursday]. He gave us an Audio Interview which can be heard below this article.

Millissa Beydilli from Blurton is the Leader of the Save Our Children Centres Campaign explained why it is vital that these centres are saved from closure and how they have been a lifeline for so many families across the city’s communities. Listen to the Audio Interview below.
Council Leader Cllr Mohammed Pervez met with the campaigners along with several cabinet members and received a 6,500 strong petition against the closure proposals.

There was also a small group of students protesting outside the Civic. They were expressing their opposition to the rise in tuition fees and against cuts in services generally.

The North Staffs Pensioners Convention were also in attendance protesting against any cuts which will impact upon the elderly.

High Rise Council Flats To Benefit From £1.9m Improvements

High rise council flats in Stoke-on-Trent are to benefit from almost £2 million of investment to improve fire safety measures, access and security.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is spending £1.9 million on a programme of works that will run until next April on properties across the city. The measures are designed to help drive up the standard of the environment for hundreds of city residents.

The works will see over 800 fire doors and over 400 flat doors installed in 10 blocks of flats in Blurton, Hanley, Stoke and Tunstall.

Twenty-six blocks of flats in Fenton, Hanley and other areas of the city will benefit from lightning protection measures. Door entry systems will be replaced in 10 blocks of flats in Meir to help improve security, and three blocks of flats in Hanley will have CCTV installed to help tackle anti-social behaviour.

A total of 42 small blocks of flats in Meir and other areas of the city will have improved emergency lighting installed, and nine blocks of flats in Fenton, Hanley and Tunstall will have roof access doors replaced to help make the buildings weather tight.

The roof of Honeywall House in Stoke will be replaced, with residents who lease their properties in the building asked to pay a contribution towards the work. Worn and damaged plastic glazing on both Robinson Court and Pedley Court in Blurton will also be replaced.

Funding for the scheme has come from money that has been ring-fenced within the council’s Housing Revenue Account.

“The funding for this work has come from existing council budgets to improve health and safety, and internal and external works in council flats. It has been carefully planned and budgeted for.

“This investment demonstrates the council’s commitment to continue to drive up the quality of life for residents across the city. We take our responsibility to our tenants very seriously and will be working hard over the coming months to carry out these improvements with as little disruption as possible.”

Reg Shaw, who has lived with wife Beryl in Forest Court, Hanley since the flats were built more than 30 years ago has welcomed the investment.

“I am over the moon about the works. We have noticed the need for maintenance work over the last few years, but we know that money is very tight and the council has to look at the entire city.

“Our flats are a lovely place to live, and are very close to the city centre. We are very pleased that these improvements are taking place.”

Extra Care Housing and Estate Regeneration PFI Announcements Leave ‘Bittersweet’ taste

Work to create almost 400 extra care homes in the city will continue, but a programme to build nearly 600 homes on six housing estates has been hit by a government announcement on Private Finance Initiative schemes.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council will continue to work on its programme to build 390 new homes to offer older people independent living coupled with access to care and support in Abbey Hulton, Blurton and Chell.

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Coffee morning to raise money for Douglas Macmillan

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Disability and Sensory team will be holding a coffee morning at Tunstall Area Office on Oldcourt Street. Tunstall. on Friday 8th October 2010. Entrance is via Forster Street.

Taking place between 10.30am and 1.30pm, the event is to raise money for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice in Blurton.

There will be a bric a brac table, tombola, clothes stall, home case cakes and preserves will be for sale.

Refreshments will be available throughout the morning.