The council’s Upperbanks housing development in Rochdale has already benefited the borough’s local economy and residents.
The development, being created on a brownfield site next to the Rochdale Riverside retail and leisure complex, is part of the council’s ongoing town centre regeneration plan.
As part of the project, the council set a series of ‘social value’ targets to ensure that local firms and people benefit.
So far £6.8 million has been spent with local businesses within 10 miles of the site on materials such as bricks, cladding and flooring. This is in addition to other labour costs.
In addition, a target to employ local people was also exceeded. Initially, the aim was to ensure 20 per cent of those employed at Upperbanks would come from within a 10-mile radius but the actual figure is 29 per cent.
Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “Work on this development has really concentrated on including the community and local companies, and has been a vital part of the process.
“Many of our local schools have seen the work first hand and learned about what happens in the construction of a site like Upperbanks. And I am glad to say it has been able to offer both work experience and employment to so many of our residents in a sustainable way that should lead to other opportunities in the longer term.”
Willmott Dixon, who manages the construction, passed a major milestone in December 2022 by welcoming the 1000th local student in its young people engagement programme which has included a series of career events, workshops, site tours and industry placements.
Pupils and students aged 9–18, from local primary and secondary schools, along with students from Hopwood Hall College, visited the site throughout 2022, learning about the ongoing work to produce 242 apartments and a Hampton by Hilton hotel.
Several students used the experience towards gaining T-levels, working 45 days at the development as part of the contribution to their qualifications. Another cohort will be starting in January 2023.
Further to this the developer was able to offer apprenticeships for 17 people, leading to qualifications and potential full-time employment. They have worked on site and with various supply partners to further their skills and knowledge.