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Last Updated: Friday, 4 March, 2005, 11:51 GMT
Midlands: On the Vale
Patrick Burns
Patrick Burns
West Midlands Politics Editor

Castle Vale
In 1994 Castle Vale was dominated by tower blocks

It used to be one of Britain's most notorious housing estates. A high rise hell. Drugs related crime, prostitution, chronic public health and 25% unemployment. Castle Vale had the lot.

Now Castle Vale is a showpiece. Unemployment is below the regional average at 5%.

Average life expectancy has increased by five years and 9,000 people live in 4,000 homes which have all been either modernised or comprehensively refurbished.

Two thousand of the worst homes have been demolished including all but two of the notorious tower blocks.

Credited with one of Britain's most ambitious regeneration projects is the Castle Vale Housing Action Trust (the HAT), set up by the Government 12 years ago to give Castle Vale some much needed intensive therapy.

Castle Vale
Castle Vale as it is now - some difference!

Opinions from ...

Politics Show Midlands is live from Castle Vale where the HAT is being wound up this month at the end of its 12 year term.

Patrick Burns talks to the Labour Peer Lord Corbett of Castle Vale who, as the local MP Robin Corbett, oversaw much of the work as it took place.

Also taking part will be one of the residents on the estate, George Hadley, who speaks for many of the local people who are less than impressed by the work of the HAT despite the apparent improvements.

Replacing the high rise blocks with low level housing has encroached on green spaces and play areas.

Some tenants believe their homes have been "refurbished" to a very poor standard.

Some disagreement

One resident who has lived "on the Vale" for nearly 40 years says in the report that the HAT simply "lost the plot".

With the passing of the HAT, responsibly for the estate moves to the new Community Housing Association.

Politics Show asks if it will be able to sustain low unemployment and keep on top of crime over the years ahead.

And does the Castle Vale "make-over" offer a role model for all our other run down estates?

Not at this price! In all, the project has cost us taxpayers 205m with a further 113m levered-in from other sources, principally the private sector ... a grand total of 318m.

Politics Show

That is the Politics Show Sunday, 06 March, at 12.30pm.

Join presenter Adrian Goldberg for The Politics Show on BBC One on Sundays at 12.30pm.


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SEE ALSO:
Meet presenter Adrian Goldberg
02 Mar 03 |  Politics Show


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