New council homes on the Heath Town estate have been awarded the highest Secured by Design (SBD) mark.

The development of 40 homes on Hobgate Road and one site on Tithe Croft, off Chervil Rise, has received the gold standard as part of the official police security initiative.

To gain the award council officers had to work with West Midlands Police Designing Out Crime Officers, who are part of the national network of police officers and staff who specialise in designing out crime.

They advise and collaborate with architects, developers and local authority planners long before construction begins – and continue to provide advice and guidance until a development is complete.

The Heath Town award acknowledges the measures taken to reduce the opportunity for crime and anti-social behaviour by improved layout, environmental design and the use of Police Preferred Specification products. It also provides evidence of compliance with Building Regulations for domestic security in England, Scotland and Wales.

The new council homes – the first on the estate in 54 years – have been built by contractor Equans. They form part of a major transformation of the estate, which has seen an extensive demolition programme of vacant buildings, existing residential blocks undergo major improvements by Wolverhampton Homes, and the creation of three new play areas and a football pitch.

Through a Local Lettings Plan developed with the Heath Town Tenants and Residents Association, the majority of homes have been allocated to existing council tenants, including those with a local connection to Heath Town.

It is the first phase of a total of more than 150 new homes to be built on the estate over the coming years, with the council set to develop other sites.

The Heathfield Park Neighbourhood Plan was also one of the main drivers for the remodelling of the estate, with residents, consulted through the neighbourhood planning process, prioritising new affordable family homes as well as play areas and improved security.

Councillor Steve Evans, City of Wolverhampton Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Housing, said: “One of our key priorities is to increase the number of good homes in well connected neighbourhoods across the city.

“Part of that is about providing access to a safe and secure home for residents and this SBD Gold award is testament to the work we are doing in this area with the support of the police. 

“It is heartening to see how the regeneration of Heath Town is changing the lives of families for the better.

“The transformation of the estate over the last few years has been built on the strong sense of community here and we have delivered improvements and new homes the residents can be proud of.”

West Midlands Police Force Design Out Crime & Crime Reduction Manager, Mark Silvester, said: “The Secured by Design Gold award for the first phase of the Heath Town redevelopment demonstrates great partnership working between City of Wolverhampton Council, Wolverhampton Homes and West Midlands Police. 

“Building new homes to Secured by Design’s high standards will contribute to safe and secure communities for years to come. We are proud to be involved in these projects across Wolverhampton.”

Other works already completed as part of the redevelopment include the demolition of walkways and garages in the Hobgate Road area of the estate and the refurbishment of the ground and lower ground floors of Ling House to provide new office, meeting and activity space for Hope Family Centre.