In terms of ‘place’, Castle Vale is in many ways a successful neighbourhood. There is generally good quality housing, a pleasant environment and a good range of facilities and amenities. Crime is low and there is a big demand for CVCHA’s housing with long waiting lists for all housing types.
There are around 4300 homes on the estate with 2400 owned and managed by CVCHA. 100% of the social rented homes meet the Decent Homes Standard and are energy efficient as indicated by high SAP ratings. There have also been initiatives amongst the rented stock to use solar power, high efficiency boilers and water reduction measures. With regard to the owner occupied sector a stock condition survey carried out in 2007/8 to 1050 properties out of 1800 and the same survey asked homeowners what services would be beneficial to them. A homeowners’ reference group was set up in response to this to help shape future service development.
A good environment not only concerns green space and maintenance but also the condition and cleanliness of buildings, streets and facilities. Issues such as litter, graffiti, fly-tipping, abandoned cars, dog fouling, the loss of play areas or footpaths, are a top concern for many residents. Castle Vale is no different in this respect with environmental issues being the top issue for Castle Vale residents. Tackling these issues helps to create areas that local people are proud of and want to spend their time in and feel safe to move around.
Green space featured greatly in the redevelopment plan of Castle Vale Housing Action Trust (HAT). A site occupied by tower blocks has been transformed into the first new park in Birmingham for a decade. Project Wagtail, a network of foot, cycle paths and bridleways, allows residents easy access to open space. An agreement was implemented between the HAT, Birmingham City Council and the Neighbourhood Partnership to ensure that these new developments would be maintained to the same high standard. A commuted maintenance account was established to enable BCC to carry out maintenance functions on these areas for an estimated 10 years.