29 November 2016

EVEN a day can make a difference - but an area of Carlisle has undergone a £50million decade-long transformation to breathe new life into an existing community, creating new homes, facilities and a fresh outlook. 

Home builder Lovell, together with partners Carlisle City Council, Riverside, Two Castles Housing Association, Eden Housing Association and the local community, has pioneered a massive regeneration programme at the Raffles Estate. This has seen hundreds of new homes built, investment into community facilities such as Play Raffles, Gingers Community Centre and Youth Club, the Living Well Family Centre and the creation of new jobs.

Now, Lovell is celebrating the transformation that has taken place in this busy inner city ‘hamlet’ which people new and old to the area call ‘home’.

Clare Noakes, regional sales manager for Lovell in the North West, said: “Lovell was part of the Raffles Vision project team established in 2002 to revitalise the estate which has since benefited from a major £50m phased regeneration programme.

“And, over the last 10 years in particular, we are seeing the results of the investment, where attention, forward-thinking and a little bit of love has seen the area reborn, offering those who live here new homes, great local facilities and open spaces on their doorstep. It is wonderful to see the changes and to be a major part of this transformation.”

Cllr Heather Bradley, Portfolio holder for Economy, Enterprise and Housing at Carlisle City Council, said: “The regeneration of the Raffles estate has been a great success story for all concerned. The partnership approach with Lovell and other organisations ensured that Raffles Vision produced lasting benefits to the area and the city as a whole.” 

Eventually there will be 500 new homes built here, over several phases, the majority of them for private sale. Lovell has just recently launched its latest phase of 52 new homes at New Acres, directly neighbouring the hugely popular Parkside, where the new homes all sold out earlier this year. Earlier phases also include The Elms, Parkview and The Hawthorns.

Lovell’s Clare Noakes continued: “We’ve welcomed a mix of local people who wanted to stay in the area and upgrade to a new home, as well as those from further away who have moved to Carlisle for work, studies or retirement. We’ve also welcomed former residents gravitating back to their roots.

“Moving to this area is a lifestyle choice. Residents who live here can walk to work, they can enjoy everything the city centre has to offer, and they can come home to Heysham Park on the doorstep, or take the car and be among the rich diverse countryside of the Lakes in a matter of minutes.”

Many home-owners are already enjoying Lovell’s modern and spacious homes, the revitalised area and the masses of open green space which families and individuals can take advantage of.

Anne Bragg, 58, was one of the first residents at Parkside having moved there in January last year. Self-employed with her own cleaning business it is close to the majority of her clients.

She has lived in or near Carlisle for more than 30 years and has seen it change enormously: “I remember the Raffles Estate when it was pretty run down, but since Lovell’s development the place has been brought back up again, it looks so much better and there is a much more positive atmosphere.

“The area is perfect because it has local shops and a big Sainsbury’s nearby. I can get into the city in five minutes but I live opposite the park – I have a beautiful outlook from my house – so I have really got the best of both worlds.”

The transformation is possibly contributing to a rise in local house prices too, with the average cost of a home in Carlisle up by 3% last year according to Land Registry statistics.

Clare Noakes added: “Our homes are designed to be affordable with exceptional value built in, offering high specifications and spacious layouts. We’re helping people get on the ladder, move in together and creating family homes that come with all the local amenities needed to make life enjoyable.

“We’re immensely proud of the changes that have taken place over the last ten years and our residents are the greatest advocates of the unique and close-knit community spirit that exists here.”

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