Since July 2012, BCT has invested £36.4m 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 are a selection of works that are ongoing or coming up.

Kitchen & Bathroom Replacement Programme

Following BCT’s stock condition survey and investment profiling 285 kitchens and 367 bathrooms across the Estate have been identified for replacement up to 2025.

These properties form the 2020-2022 Kitchen and Bathroom Replacement Programmes. Elvet Construction Consultants Ltd have been appointed as the consultants supporting BCT in the delivery of this project.

RE:GEN have been appointed as the contractor and work will commence in June 2021 and will take approximately two years to complete.

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

We will soon be consulting with residents living in the Dunn Terrace area about pilot proposals to redesign the communal waste arrangements.

This will include the locations and designs of the new bin areas which aim to tackle ongoing waste issues and aesthetically improve the appearance of the communal bin locations.

A picture of the Byker wall

Commercial Conversions

AJ Bennet commenced works in December 2020 to convert three commercial units into four new homes for rent. The one-bedroomed, accessible homes with wet rooms, are being created by converting 71 Dunn Terrace, 66 Northumberland Terrace and the former district heating office on Raby Street. The works are progressing well and are expected to be completed by summer 21.

Door Replacement Programme 2020-2025

Esh Construction are replacing a number of front and rear doors identified in the stock condition survey. BCT will shortly be contacting residents if their home requires a new door.

Block Communal Lighting upgrade

Secureshield Ltd has been appointed to replace the original communal lighting to 15 stilt and communal blocks across the Estate. All residents affected will be contacted by BCT ahead of the works commencing in April 21.

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 Byker District Heating System provides heating and hot water to all of the homes and many other buildings on the Byker Estate.

The system was installed when the Estate was built in the 1970’s and delivers heat and hot water through a network of mains pipework across the estate.

Upgrading the system is a priority for BCT.

A 1 mega watt biomass boiler and 1 mega watt combined heat and power boiler have been installed at the main heat station and this has made the system more economical to operate. The benefits of this has been passed on to the residents of the estate and there have been no increase in heat charges since BCT was formed. This is quite an achievement given the huge increase in gas prices over the same period.

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 (13No.)
  • 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.

The next stage of the process involves the internal improvement of the domestic controls in homes so customers and residents have greater control over their heating and can help to save energy.

Internal heating improvement works are on-going and will be carried out to all properties on the system. These will 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.

In addition to these improvements, BCT is reviewing options to install an additional biomass boiler or combined heat and power boiler. This has the potential to bring significant benefits to Byker and opportunities for grant funding are being investigated.

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.