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URBAN PROJECTS POISED FOR NEW AWARD

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A community-led action plan to reduce crime and disorder on a problem...
A community-led action plan to reduce crime and disorder on a problem

estate in Northampton, a restored East London park, a thriving centre

for disabled people in the West Midlands and a regeneration project

on a neglected West Yorkshire canalside, are competing for the first

deputy prime minister's Award for Urban Renaissance.

The outright winner of the Award will be announced at this year's

Urban Summit which he is hosting in Birmingham on Thursday 31

October / Friday 1 November.

The four finalists were selected under the following criteria, that

they are:

- enhancing the quality of life of local people;

- meeting a need or dealing with a problem identified by the

community;

- contributing effectively to a wider strategy for urban

renaissance;

- sustainable;

- demonstrating high quality design in relation to any physical

aspects of the scheme;

- able to demonstrate innovation; and

- able to demonstrate the active involvement of the local

community.

The finalists are : -

Blackthorn CASPAR (Crime and Anti-Social behaviour PARtnership)

Project, Blackthorn Estate, Northampton.

On the Blackthorn Estate - 2,200 houses developed as part of a large

new town in the 1970's - there were 87.2 burglaries per 1,000

households compared to a rate of 14.6 for Northampton and a national

average of 12 per 1000 households for the rest of the country.

Working together the Police, Northampton BC and Northamptonshire CC,

as well as the Residents' Association, surveyed households to

identify issues and employed a neighbourhood warden to target and

prevent repeat dwelling burglaries. They altered landscapes to give

greater protection and peace of mind and used CCTV, fenced in

alleyways, improved lighting, created motorcycle barriers and

installed alarms and locks to cut crime. Statistical evidence for the

success of this scheme is reflected in the crime figures: in 1998

there were a total of 832 crimes on the estate, this had dropped to

629 in 1999, 488 crimes in 2000 and for 2001 it was down to 292 total

crimes.

Bob's Park - Bromley-by-Bow.

A community-owned development trust led this initiative which has

transformed a derelict and poorly used inner city park into a popular

public open space with an adjacent health centre. The scheme was

supported by Tower Hamlets LBC, the Bromley by Bow GP and Primary

Health Care Practice and the East London and City Health Authority.

The council sold Bob's Park to the Bromley-by-Bow Centre for a

peppercorn sum. The Centre designed and built the Health Centre with

a£500,000 grant from the Health Authority and a£700,000 bank loan

payable with rent from the GP and Primary Health Care team. Since the

Centre is owned by its members this created a novel situation where

GPs pay rent to their patients. The council granted the centre a

30-year lease to manage the rest of the park and has transferred its

management budget to the Centre.

Ideal for All Limited, the Independent Living Centre, Sandwell in the

West Midlands.

The centre is a partnership between Sandwell MBC and Sandwell

Health Authority. Designed to encourage self-reliance and

independence amongst disabled people, the centre also provides

facilities for the able bodied. There is a simulated home in the

building where people can test the effectiveness of appliances and a

garden for the disabled is about to open. Located two miles from the

Independent Living Centre, the garden is being built with the help of

local residents from the surrounding council estate and those with

learning difficulties. It is an innovative, ambitious and extremely

well managed project.

Huddersfield Narrow Canal Restoration, Slaithwaite Village.

Part of the larger Huddersfield Narrow Canal Restoration managed by a

partnership of Tameside, Oldham and Kirklees Councils, British

Waterways and the Canal Society. The restoration work of the

Slaithwaite section of the canal was intended to, not only reconnect

the link through the village, but also to provide a focus and

destination for boaters, fishermen, walkers, residents and visitors

in general. The old dock area has been re-established to allow boats

to be moored close to the village centre. Restoration of the canal is

already bringing considerable economic benefits in an area of the

Colne Valley devastated by the collapse of the local textile industry

Notes

1. The office of the deputy prime minister's Award for Urban

Renaissance was launched earlier this year. It is administered by the

British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA) which also holds its

own best practice award. BURA's objective is to promote best practice

in urban regeneration.

2. Nominations for the Award, which is for urban regeneration

initiatives of all types and sizes in England and which must be

advanced to a stage where there is a record of success with

demonstrable results, were considered by a panel of independent

assessors with experience and expertise in regeneration.

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