Work has finally started on a new £16m housing development on Fitzwilliam’s ‘Estate from Hell’ - 12 years after derelict and vandalised homes were demolished.
The City Estate fell into a state of disrepair in the late 80s and early 90s, leading to Wakefield Council buying and demolishing 215 former pit homes between 2002 and 2006.
A proposed new residential development was delayed due to the economic climate - but councillors and community representatives were finally able to attend an official sod-cutting ceremony at the end of last month.
Named The Realm, the development by Keepmoat will see 159 homes built on the estate, where Yorkshire and England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott grew up.
Work should be completed by 2019, with the development comprising of 79 two-bedroom houses, 78 three-bedroom houses, six two-bedroom bungalows and two two-bedroom flats.
The project has been partly funded through a share of £8m from the government’s Regional Growth Fund, which will also partly fund developments on the Westfield Lane area of South Elmsall, Hemsworth’s West End estate and the Girnhill Estate in Featherstone.
The ground-cutting ceremony was attended by Peter Taberner, chairman of Hemsworth Miners’ Welfare Scheme, Sean Pugh, chief executive of Hemsworth Miners’ Welfare Football Club, Adrian Heritage and Brian Lee from the Hemsworth Miners’ Welfare Cricket Club, the Mayor of Wakefield, Coun Sandra Pickin, Hemsworth councillor Glyn Lloyd, Karen Lythe, from Wakefield Council, and James Smith, from Keepmoat.
Mr Taberner, who used to live on the City Estate 30 years ago, said: “This is a proud area with a proud history. A lot of people in this area have been waiting for this development to happen because we believe it can help to make Fitzwilliam better and turn it into a really nice place to live again.
Coun Pickin said: “It’ll be great to see housing come back here and these new homes will bring new people to our community to enjoy everything this area has to offer, including a warm welcome from the people of Fitzwilliam.”
The construction work will create new jobs, with developers hoping to boost the local economy by awarding millions of pounds of work to local companies.
Mr Smith, partnerships and land manager for Keepmoat Yorkshire, said: “Building high quality new homes is at the core of regenerating communities like the former City Estate.
“They will breathe new life into this part of the district and are sure to be popular with the local community and attractive to a range of home buyers including people buying their first home, families and professionals.
“We are delighted to be working with Wakefield Council to improve and expand the district’s housing mix and are confident this new development will be a positive catalyst which will improve the area’s fortunes.”
Coun Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council’s deputy leader, said: “The beginning of work on these new homes for Fitzwilliam marks an exciting milestone in the regeneration of the area.
“By joining forces with a regeneration specialist like Keepmoat we can deliver the high quality, affordable homes the area really needs.
“It’s great to see work starting on the ground and it will not be long before the first homes begin to take shape.”