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PS9.7m refurb Byker Wall is completed.

Byline: Tom Ough Reporter tom.ough@trinitymirror.com

APS9.7M refurbishment of the awardwinning Byker Wall in Newcastle has been completed.

The grade II* listed sixstorey block of 628 flats and maisonettes now boasts a new exterior, new roof, and new windows and doors.

Meanwhile the communal stairwells have been improved, there is a digital concierge system for entry and security has been upgraded.

The imposing 1.3milelong building, designed by renowned architect Ralph Erskine, is owned and managed by the Byker Community Trust (BCT) Housing Association, which was behind the two-year renovation project. David Ward, managing director of Keepmoat, the builders who did much of the work, said: "It wasn't just the size that makes this project unique - it's the complexity.

"This is classed as one of the best Ralph Erskine developments in the country."

The renovation work stayed true to his original design, but the refurbishment was far from simply cosmetic.

Keepmoat removed 300 tonnes of asbestos from the building, and solar panels have been installed on the roof.

Residents were keen to praise the redevelopment.

Martin Greenfield, a student at Northumbria University, who has lived at Byker Wall for nearly three years, said: "I have an unbelievable sense of pride in where I live. It's such a well-designed place.

"Byker has had a (bad) reputation in the past, but I've never had any trouble."

Alongside Keepmoat, the BCT worked on the project with security systems provider OpenView alongside the city council, Your Homes Newcastle and Historic England.

Jill Haley, the BCT's chief executive, said: "I am delighted with how well our partners have worked in collaboration with us to successfully deliver this scheme, which has resulted in high levels of customer satisfaction on what has been a very complex project."

The refurbishment work has already caught the eye of architecture experts.

In the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors awards, the project has been shortlisted in the Residential, Building Conservation and Infrastructure categories.

CAPTION(S):

From left, David Ward (Keepmoat), Les Ilderton (Openview) and Jill Haley from Byker Community Trust

Iain Buist

<BByker Wall resident Martin James Greenfield

The newly refurbished Byker Wall

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 9, 2016
Words:355
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