A once notorious Wrexham estate that has been redeveloped to incorporate crime prevention principles set by Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative, has received a ringing endorsement from a local resident.
“I would recommend an estate like this, I love it here” said Mrs Rodgers when asked about the Hightown Estate.
Having grown up on the estate as a child, moved away and returned to the estate, Mrs Rodgers is in a unique position to comment on the metamorphosis of the estate from an eyesore which greeted visitors on the main route into Wrexham from the south, into an estate that she now recommends as a place to live.
Built in 1970 the estate previously comprised of an off white block of flats, five bungalows and 26 houses and soon gained a reputation for crime and anti-social behaviour. Structural problems with the block of flats soon followed, and in 2009 Wales and West Housing applied to redevelop the estate as part of a flagship £16.9m affordable housing development in Hightown and Rivulet Road.
Demolition of the old estate started in 2011, with eight local young people benefitting from apprenticeships resulting from the works and 80% of the entire workforce living within ten miles of Wrexham, the redevelopment is believed to have been worth more than £50m to the local economy.
The new development, completed in the summer of 2014, has 92 new affordable and energy-efficient homes - two, three and four bedroom houses, bungalows and apartments - as well as a new Community and Medical Resource Centre.
The regeneration saw an SBD trained Designing Out Crime Officer, who is employed by North Wales Police, work with architects, developers and local authority planners at the planning stage all the way through to construction to ensure that SBD crime prevention techniques were incorporated into it.
These measures included incorporating natural surveillance, such as homes having unrestricted views into the street; the avoidance of excessive through movement to limit escape routes and hiding places; and the creation of defensible space, such as boundaries being protected with high fencing at the rear of properties. SBD techniques also included the increased physical security of buildings with external doors and accessible windows meeting SBD’s standards for being sufficiently robust to resist attack from opportunist burglars.
Commenting on the redevelopment of the estate, Mrs Rodgers said: “There’s a big difference here now there’s not a big concrete block here. I grew up in the area, we lived in the tower block and we weren’t allowed outside to play.
“We eventually moved away but when they redeveloped the area my husband, who works in the building trade, recommended we get a house here and so we brought one – and I feel safer now.
“They’ve done a really good job, it blends in, it looks nice and they keep on top of things. I would recommend an estate like this, I love it here.
“We’ve just had a family move in here from London and they really like it here as it’s so quiet.
“I wouldn’t move anywhere else now, I love it around here.”
The redeveloped estate also has very apparent green space, with trees along the periphery and scattered within. With few street trees outside of the site and no other green space visible in the locality the green space on the estate moderates an otherwise domineering urban character.
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