The ownership and management of 1,800 homes on the iconic Grade II Listed Byker Estate in Newcastle upon Tyne has formally been transferred to Karbon Homes.
It is hoped that the transfer of engagements from Byker Community Trust (BCT) housing association to Karbon will bring new and accelerated investment into the estate over the next decade, delivering better value for money and helping to achieve the priorities that customers said were important to them.
Karbon and BCT have been working together in a cost-sharing partnership since July 2016, which they say has resulted in significant savings, improved performance, and increased customer satisfaction.
After consulting with customers and stakeholders about the proposed plans in October 2020, 94% of respondents supported the plans, and earlier this year shareholders voted overwhelmingly for the partnership to go ahead.
Under the new transfer arrangements, customers will continue to be involved in making decisions on the Estate.
A new BCT Committee, consisting of up to 12 members, will comprise local people including a minimum of four customers responsible for overseeing the quality of services delivered by Karbon.
In addition, the management area will continue to be called Byker Community Trust, the local office and colleagues have stayed in situ, and all of the housing services in Byker will continue to be delivered by Karbon Homes.
Paul Fiddaman, chief executive of Karbon Homes, said: “I am pleased to formally welcome Byker Community Trust into the Karbon family after a successful partnership over the last five years.
“Whilst we already have some strong working relationships in the area, we are keen to build on the excellent work of BCT and learn from its award winning, community-led approach.
“At Karbon, we are very focused on the individual communities we serve and taking a local and estate-led approach is a valuable model that works incredibly well in Byker.
“We will be gaining new insights, skills, and experience from the BCT team; and we are excited to have them join us and help us in our ambitions to provide customers with a strong foundation for life.
“As part of the customer consultation, we developed a Community Pledge which outlined what we will deliver, based on the priorities that customers said were important to them.
“These include transformational investment across the environment, additional funding to modernise homes, and building new homes to meet the needs of existing and future customers.”
Karbon Homes has appointed Michelle Bell as assistant director of Byker Community.
Bell will be responsible for managing the Byker Estate and ensuring the commitments of the transfer and what customers have asked for are delivered.
When BCT was formed in July 2012, Bell joined the Byker Project Team and was responsible for heading up the Property Services Team delivering BCT’s asset management and investment programme, including the delivery of repairs and maintenance, voids, compliance, and ground-maintenance functions.
Bell commented: “I am delighted to be joining Karbon Homes and continuing to deliver the improvements that customers asked for and the strategic objectives for Byker.
“Karbon has a great track record for delivering excellent services to their customers and shaping strong and sustainable places for communities.
“With further investment, I’m excited to see the estate’s transformation over the coming years.”
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