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Kingfisher House – Milestone in John Barker Place development

Local housing association, settle are delighted that Kingfisher House, the first building of the redevelopment at John Barker Place in the Westmill neighbourhood, Hitchin, is now complete.

With support from North Herts Council and Homes England, settle began work in partnership with Jarvis Construction on the first phase of the two-phase redevelopment in January 2021.

The five-storey housing block will become home to 37 residents from the nearby retirement living flats at Westmill Lawns. Residents have started to move across into their new homes, with all moves expected to be completed by the middle of August.  The building also includes the local convenience shop and a takeaway unit on the ground floor.

Representatives from settle were recently joined by local councillors, including the Leader of North Herts Council, Cllr. Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, Cllr. Ian Albert and Cllr. Nigel Mason, along with the Chair of the Resident Steering Group, Nadine and Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation to mark progress at the development.

Work has also started on phase 2 of the development where the shops and flats were previously located. This will deliver 46 new homes – 12 for social rent, 12 for retirement living, and 22 for shared ownership – due to be completed by autumn 2023.

Gavin Cansfield, chief executive at settle said: “I am delighted we have got Kingfisher House to this stage. It really is a building to be celebrated.

“I am really excited for the residents who are moving into their new homes over the coming weeks and thank them for sharing their feedback so that we could develop homes and an area that they feel proud to live in.

“I am also really pleased to see that the next phase of the development has started with plans for further investment in John Barker Place, as well as the wider Westmill neighbourhood. I look forward to watching the new homes progress providing local residents with more affordable homes in what will continue to be a thriving neighbourhood.”

Cllr. Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, leader of North Herts Council added: “We need more projects that are driven for the community and by the community like what has been delivered here I think that is the legacy that John Barker Place gives us. We’ve created a space with communal areas so people can have that sense of community, and it links to the community centre, the playground and Swinburne Avenue. This is the sort of genuinely affordable housing that I hope we see more of.”

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation said: “This regeneration scheme is a brilliant example of levelling up in action delivered by settle in partnership with the community, council and local partners.

“In looking at this development and learning about its working – it really feels like you started with what’s important to the community. Residents want to feel safer, happier and prouder about where they live, that should be the starting point for all regeneration.

“The new building is a great investment in the community.  It also follows a genuine partnership approach and community engagement, which are important to making developments like this work. It takes determination to build a great place and to do this you need resilience, creativity, adaptability and grit. I can see all of that here.”

Continued investment in Westmill

Settle has outline planning permission for a third phase of development on Freemans Close, providing over 45 new homes, and recently consulted with residents on two further phases at John Barker Place and Westmill Lawns.