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Staff at Yorkshire Housing’s Skipton office played a key role in the creation of a new type of estate management agreement.

The agreement, which is for the Greatwood and Horseclose Estate, covers the period from 2019 to 2022.

Residents decided the priorities themselves, will take part in delivering them and will hold various agencies, including Yorkshire Housing, to account.

It is a departure from previous estate agreements dating back to the first one in 1999, all of which were led by stakeholder organisations.

The change is aimed at empowering residents by getting them to decide what they want for the estate and their community.

Michael Hewson, Yorkshire Housing’s neighbourhood services manager in Skipton, said: “I’m very much in favour of a bottom-up approach to community engagement.

 

“If local people are shaping the priorities, they are more likely to support them and take ownership of them.

 

“The partner agencies are accountable. If they don’t deliver, the community can ask them for an explanation about where things went wrong.”

Stakeholders include Yorkshire Housing, North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire County Council, Craven District Council, Skipton Town Council, Sanctuary Housing and Stonewater, as well as the residents of the two estates.

Residents will hold these bodies accountable through an estate committee.

All partners are represented, but it is chaired by residents, who are also the majority on the committee.

Resident members are nominated by the revamped Greatwood and Horseclose Residents’ Association.

The residents’ association now has charitable status with a board of trustees and various devolved action groups.

The action groups cover topics such as the community centre, Greatwood and Horseclose as a thriving neighbourhood, grant applications and volunteer development.

Priorities include:

  • Crime reporting and anti-social behaviour;
  • an inspection system to monitor maintenance of communal and public areas;
  • tackling dog fouling, fly-tipping and litter;
  • targeted walkabouts to identify problem hotspots;
  • parking;
  • street lighting;
  • and skills, training and education for adults.

The targeted walkabouts are a change from previous estate agreements.

In the past, neighbourhood officers covered the whole estate with various invited participants. 

Residents wanted the efforts concentrated on areas where there were specific issues raised by local people, for example fly-tipping or overgrown public spaces.

These hotspots are now identified by residents and then the relevant agencies are invited.

Michael added of Yorkshire Housing: “We’re a significant partner.

 

“We put money, about £6,000 a year, into covering certain works and priorities. But the decisions on how that money spent is now decided by the estate committee.

A new estate agreement is set every three years.

Karen McIntyre, who manages the estate’s community centre, said: “I’m very pleased the new estate agreement is in place.

 

“Every resident has had a copy delivered and all partners will sign up to the agreement at the next estate committee meeting.

 

“The flow chart on page seven of the agreement shows how residents can get engaged in the community on whatever levels right for them.

 

“The action plan is also a good focus for each party to know what’s expected over the next few years.”

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