Posted:18th March, 2021

£8m Cedar Gardens regeneration is a success for Heywood

Russell Homes built 42 two and three bedroom properties on the previously derelict site off Cedar Avenue on land acquired from Rochdale Borough Council.

Photograph of three representatives in front of new homes in Heywood
Rochdale Borough Councillor Neil Emmott with Russell Homes director Daniel Kershaw and Bob Pleasance from Onward Homes at Cedar Gardens on Clay Bank Street in Heywood

The two-acre site was identified for housing as part of the authority’s bid to help drive the regeneration of the area, and attracted investment from Homes England and regional housing association Onward Homes.

All the properties are occupied, with many now belonging to first time buyers who have moved to the area from elsewhere in Heywood and the wider Rochdale borough.

Priced from £125,000 to £145,000, 26 of the properties were sold on the open market by Russell Homes. The remaining were 16 taken by Onward Homes which provided six for shared ownership and 10 under Rent-to-Buy.

The 26 private sales were achieved within eight months, with 22 sold to first time buyers and 23 of the purchasers using the government-backed Help to Buy scheme.

Local people benefitted the most, with seven buyers coming from within Heywood itself and 12 from elsewhere in Rochdale. Eleven were from out of the area including other parts of Manchester, the North West, and even London; all are owner occupied.

The housing association properties also provided local people with the chance to get onto the property ladder. Bob Pleasance, Onward development manager, from Onward said: “The quality of the development is exactly what we’ve come to expect of Russell Homes, the properties are well designed and finished to a good specification and they have proved popular with our clients.

“We sold all of the shared ownership within a week as there was a waiting list of very keen buyers, and the rented properties were snapped up very quickly too. The improvements brought by this development are clear to see and it has really benefitted the whole area.”

As part of the project, which secured £500,000 in funding from Homes England, Russell Homes ensured that 85% of subcontractors working on the development came from within 20 miles of the site. Most workers employed directly by the housebuilder lived within 10 miles of the site, while the majority of materials used in the build were also sourced through local manufacturers and suppliers.

Russell Homes is a key sponsor of local rugby club Rochdale Hornets’ charity Foundation, having backed the club’s community programme which provided free season tickets to the borough’s youngsters and supports youth training sessions. The Russells team also contributed to educational, sports and careers-related activities at the nearby St Luke’s CE Primary school.

Councillor Neil Emmott, Cabinet Member for Quality of Place at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Development of brownfield sites is a big priority for us and that’s why we wanted to support this project to bring much needed, high quality, affordable homes to an area which was previously unused.

“Not only has this given people from Heywood and the wider borough an opportunity to get on the housing ladder, but it’s also lifted the whole area around the site and will provide an additional boost to Heywood town centre and its many businesses. The fact that local jobs have also been supported during this build is very important to us.”

Daniel Kershaw, Russell Homes director, added: “Cedar Gardens is fantastic example of how developers and local authorities can work together to bring benefits to the local area. This development saw us working closely with Rochdale Council, Onward and Homes England to regenerate a derelict site and create new houses that, it’s clear, are in high demand. I’m delighted with the response to the development and want to thank everyone who played a part in its success.”