Queen Street, Doncaster

Background

Queen Street is a development of 85 properties in Balby, Doncaster. Built in the 1970s, it consists of 81 one and two bedroom flats and 4 family houses. There are 74 General Needs properties and 11 leaseholders and there are 11 garages. The neighbourhood is within a residential area bordering an industrial estate to the south.


The Challenges

Queen Street was identified as a Neighbourhood Planning area in 2014/15 due to low Surplus Per Property, rising void loss and repair costs and difficulty in letting properties. There were also a number of antisocial behaviour issues in the neighbourhood which were affecting its reputation.


The Solution

The Neighbourhood Plan brought different functions together to work intensively on improving the performance of the neighbourhood with considerable success.

Highlights during 2015/16 include:

• There has been an increase in Surplus per Property, from £2,431 in 2014/15 to £3,385 in 2015/16, which is an increase of £70,596 in surplus for the neighbourhood.

• A Customer Perception Survey was undertaken to establish the views of customers living in the neighbourhood, which was used to improve housing management activity.

• A revised nominations agreement was negotiated with the local authority which reduced nominations to 50%, which has allowed us to market the neighbourhood to a wider group of customers, including more working people.

• Intensive work on reducing ASB in the neighbourhood took place, in particular addressing street drinking through positive engagement with street drinkers, and environmental works to redesign areas where street drinking took place which reduced this activity significantly.

• Kerb appeal improvements including improvements to soft landscaping, treatment of hard landscaping to remove moss and fly tipping / waste, and external painting of railings.

• A staff team building day, involving customers, undertaking environmental improvements, including transforming many of the shared garden spaces which were an eyesore, overgrown and full of rubbish.

• Intensive marketing activity to promote the scheme using different approaches, which resulted in reduced re-let times from 83 days in 2014/15 to 25 days at the end of 2015/16.

• Intensive work on reducing arrears, working with long term arrears cases, with preventative and early action with new / low arrears cases which resulted in arrears reducing from 7.32% in 2014/15 to 5.22% at the end of 2015/16.


The result

Surplus per Property has increased from £2,431 in 2014/15 to £3,385 in 2015/16, which is an increase of £70,596 in surplus for the neighbourhood.

• Turnover reduced over the year,

from a high 14.9% at the start

of the year to the year-end low

of 12.2%.

• Rent arrears reduced from 7.32%

in 2014/15 to 5.22% at the end

of 2015/16.

• Total Void Loss reduced from

3.76% in 2014/15 to 1.92% at the

end of 2015/16.

• Re-let times have reduced from

83 days in 2014/15 to 25 days

at the end of 2015/16.