Since July 2012, BCT has invested £38.4m (at Dec 21) worth of improvements on the Byker Estate.

BCT’s investment programme has been delivering a number of different projects to refurbish and improve homes and the neighbourhood.

Ongoing & Upcoming Works

BCT is continuing to deliver improvements across the estate. Here is a selection of works that are ongoing or coming up.

Bathroom and Internal Door replacements

RE:GEN Group are continuing to deliver the first two phases of the improvement works.

All homes across the estate will receive a new bathroom with shower and new internal doors between 2022 and 2025. We will then return to provide all customers with a new kitchen between 2025 and 2029.

These improvements are part of our Community Pledge in partnership with Karbon Homes.  Phase 3 of the improvement works will be announced shortly. There have been some delays in completing the works but RE:GEN are working hard to deliver this programme.

A stock condition survey identified that some homes required a new kitchen prior to 2025. These works have been delivered as part of the current programme but only affected a small number of homes.

Decent Homes Programme

Over 150 unimproved homes have been modernised internally to the Decent Homes Standard. There is a small amount of properties that have not been modernised internally, and BCT continue to consult these customers to have the improvement works carried out which includes new kitchens, bathrooms, rewiring and other repairs.

Environmental Upgrade

Brambledown Landscape Services Ltd have completed works to install new litter and recycling bins across the estate, created a new footpath link on Raby Way and complete essential works to some of the footpaths and steps.

Customer consultation will commence soon to look at new waste management proposals to blocks in the Dunn Terrace area and Headlam Green. More information will be announced soon.

Stairwell Upgrades

Bell Group has been appointed to carry out the stairwell upgrade programme. The works will include new flooring and redecoration to the communal entrances and stairwells across the estate. Flat doors and cupboard doors on the stairwells will also be redecorated.

Works commenced in March 2022 and are expected to be completed by October 2022. Customers affected by these works will receive a letter from Bell Group to explain what the works will entail prior to any work being carried out.

Chirton House 

Bell Group will shortly be commencing internal redecoration works at Chirton House.

External Redecoration

Bell Group will be undertaking pre-paint repairs and external redecoration works to properties in Clive Place and Low Fold. Works are expected to be completed in April 2022.

Door Replacement Programme 2020-2025

Esh Construction will shortly commence a second phase of door replacements of flat entrances in stilt blocks, which have been identified as requiring a new fire door as part of a recent Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs). Customers requiring a new door will be contacted by Esh to arrange the works.

Block Communal Lighting upgrade

Secureshield Ltd have completed all works to replace the original communal lighting to 15 stilt and communal blocks across the Estate.

BT OpenReach

BT is upgrading the cabling/joints on the Byker Wall roof throughout April as they have become damaged over the years. The work is expected to take around four weeks and there will be minimal impact to customers while these are being carried out. The new cabling/joints should have a service life of 30-40 years.

Byker Wall external improvements including concierge upgrade

Work commenced on the £9.7m refurbishment project of the Grade II* listed iconic Byker Wall and link blocks in April 2014. This included a full external fabric overhaul of 400 flats and maisonettes benefiting from the significant improvements (including having new windows and doors fitted).

The improvement works also included the installation of a new roof, a new digital aerial system and upgrading of the door entry and CCTV systems. Improvements have also been made to the communal stairwells, entrances, deck access walkways and a complete repaint in line with the original Ralph Erskine colour scheme.

This project provided opportunities for employment and training including apprenticeships and jobs for people living in Byker, thus also helping to improve economic and social conditions within the estate.

Byker District Heating System

The District Heating System was installed in the 1970’s when the Byker Estate was built. It provides unlimited heating and hot water to all homes on the Byker Estate and many other buildings including Byker Primary School, offices such as the BCT office, Barnardo’s, Byker Lodge Care Home and St. Lawrence Church.

The heating and hot water supply is generated from boilers located in the main heat station on Walker Road and then distributed at 130 degrees Celsius around the estate through a network of underground primary mains pipework.

The primary mains enter 11 substations located across the estate, where equipment reduces the temperature and pressure of the water to 70 to 75 degrees, suitable for distribution through underground and overground secondary mains pipework into your home.

Please see the map here to see the 11 substations and what substation your home is connected to.

Due to the age of the system, it was in need of a major overhaul and in 2014 work began to upgrade the network. This involved:

  • Replacing 5.6 kilometres of underground secondary mains pipework.
  • Replacing all of the heat transfer stations
  • Extending the network to 228 homes previously served by obsolete gas boilers.
  • Replacing the BMS (building management system) that controls the operations of the system.

We are currently carrying out internal improvements of the domestic controls in homes so customers and residents have greater control over their heating, helping you to save energy.

These improvement works stalled throughout 2020 and 2021 due to Covid, however, work has resumed and Malone & Sons who is the contractor appointed to carry out the works, will be contacting all remaining customers who are yet to receive the internal upgrade of their heating system.

It is important this work is carried out and you provide access so we can explain how your heating upgrade will give you greater control of the heating in your home and how the work will be safely carried out.

The works include:

  • Installation of programmers to control the heating system;
  • Installation of thermostatic radiator valves and room thermostats to control internal temperatures within each room;
  • New control valves to the hot water cylinders;
  • Replacement of obsolete radiators, tanks and pipework as required to bring all properties up to a modern standard.

Chirton House

Chirton House has benefitted from a £1.12m refurbishment converting a disused care home into 16 one and two bedroom high quality, modern apartments. Two of the ground floor apartments have been adapted for wheelchair accessibility.

Each self-contained apartment includes a kitchen, bathroom and WC and has been designed to promote independent living.  The apartments are available for rent and aimed at people aged 50 and over.

They are located in a popular area of the Estate overlooking the bowling green with other community facilities nearby.

Avondale House

Avondale House provides accommodation and support to veterans to help them live independently.

The building includes 33 one-bedroom self-contained flats and communal facilities such as a lounge, kitchen, IT suite and central courtyard.

The house is owned by BCT and run by the charity Launchpad providing a safe environment in which residents can make a responsible transition from military to civilian life and addresses the issues that can sometimes lead to homelessness and unemployment.

Residents can live in Avondale House for up to two years, and are supported by staff and organisations to help improve their health & wellbeing, literacy, employability and financial management skills. It gives them the opportunity to live independently whilst receiving support to find jobs, housing and gain new skills. After two years, they are expected to have established alternative accommodation elsewhere to match their employment and personal circumstances.

Painting programme

In 2013, BCT started a programme of external painting across the Estate.

Work includes the external painting of doors, windows, guttering repairs and cleaning, Byker style fencing and all of the other external woodwork on the properties.

Byker Wall link bridge refurbishments

Refurbishment works to the link bridges connecting Headlam House, Felton House, Kendal House, Brinkburn Court and Graham House to the Byker Wall have been completed.

The refurbishment work included concrete, steel and timber repairs, new roof coverings and a complete repaint in line with the original Ralph Erskine colour scheme.

Hobby Rooms upgrade

There are 88 hobby rooms across the Estate and a feasibility study was carried out to identify how to make best use of those buildings to meet the needs of the local community.  The first phase of the upgrade programme completed in February 2018 which saw the conversion of ten hobby rooms into new high quality homes, two of which have been specifically adapted for wheelchair accessibility.

Each self-contained home includes its own kitchen, bathroom and WC and have been designed to maximise the space available in these underused hobby rooms. Grant funding of £250,000 was secured from Homes England.

 

Ralph Erskine House conversion

Ralph Erskine House, previously 45-47 Brinkburn Street has been converted into four stunning two-bedroom apartments and the two ground floor apartments have been specifically designed for wheelchair accessibility.

The project completed in January 2019 and was supported by Homes England who contributed £120,000 grant funding towards the conversion of this empty building into four new high-quality homes.

Sheltered Accommodation upgrades

Tom Collins House and Mount Pleasant sheltered scheme have both benefited from external and communal upgrades.

The £1.87m works included structural works to balconies, external painting, improvements to address ongoing maintenance issues, health and safety measures, an upgrade of communal landlord services and a full modernisation of all communal areas and furnishings.

Tom Collins House also benefited from fire safety improvements including the retrofitting of a sprinkler system making it one of the first high rise buildings in the North East to complete the installation of a new sprinkler system following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Re-Roofing Programme

Esh Property Services have completed rood replacements to 411 properties on the Estate.

All properties with concrete tiled roofs and original metal profiled roofs have been replaced.

Dunn Terrace external upgrades

Esh Construction completed the external upgrade of the Dunn Terrace section of the Byker Wall to Salisbury House, including Graham House.

The works involved included replacing cladding, fire stopping, concrete and timber repairs and the full external redecoration of the blocks and installation of pigeon netting to balconies.

Commercial Conversions

Three former commercial units on the estate have been converted into four one-bedroom affordable homes to rent. Each ground-floor home at 71 Dunn Terrace, 66 Northumberland Terrace and the former district heating office on Raby Street, have been converted into modern, accessible homes with wet rooms.