The opening of 2, two-bedroomed houses in the centre of Normanton doesn’t sound like it should be the cause of a major celebration, particularly when there is a plan to construct over 700 homes in the City. But today, that is exactly what happened, with the formal ribbon-cutting by Margaret Beckett, MP for Derby South, and speeches from Councillor Russell, Mike Ainsley (Head of Derby Homes) and a representative from the Derby Fire and Rescue service.
Derby Homes is a separate company now, split off from the Council just over a decade ago, whose primary contract is to maintain the stock of houses for the City Council. As they are an independent organisation it does give them scope to be more creative, and progressive in the way that they organise themselves and develop their business.
Previously, when new builds were required for Derby’s social housing programme, they were contracted through established multi-national construction companies. It was felt that this was the only way that it could be achieved. But the team at Derby Homes, decided to challenge that custom and practice, and committed to build a few homes in their entirety. They felt that they had enough of the skills within the team, and the rest they could learn, or buy-in as appropriate.
The car park plot on Hastings Street, opposite Hardwick School was renowned as an eyesore, a dumping ground for fly-tippers and a place for other questionable night-time activities. It was here that the first of the Derby Home new builds was to be sited. So from the moment of buying the land, clearing the wasteground, and laying the foundations, through to the cutting of the ribbon it was project managed by Derby Homes.
Whilst it might only be 2 houses, it has demonstrated that the team has all the skills, “in house” to deliver the entire project, and is a great advert for the quality of the team at Derby Homes. Mike Ainsley ( Chair of Derby Homes) pointed out that using a multi-national company was tens of thousands pounds more expensive than a local group and importantly, with using local labour, all of the money is left the local economy. He went on to add that, houses funded by Derby residents, built and maintained by Derby tradespeople, lived in by Derby people, and boosting the Derby economy are true Derby Homes.
This might just be 2 houses but is a major milestone for the re-generation of a deprived area, and a vote of confidence for local skilled people…and a cost-saving for the tax payer. An event worthy of celebration.
Categories: Normanton - General