Blackpool Housing Company – Park Road

More restoration than renovation.

The challenge

This property on Park Road had been a grand Victorian home with servants’ quarters. Its turret was (and remains) something of landmark within the town. But over the years the house had gradually fallen into semi-dereliction. Blackpool Council’s mission was to transform the town’s neglected housing and hotel stock into quality affordable housing. Blackpool Housing Company (BHC) was the body established to do that, and this property on Park Rd was to become its flagship project.

More than a century of salt sea air and a lack of TLC had left the property in need of major repair. The stonework, sills, porch and in particular the turret had badly deteriorated. BHC`s attitude to this was refreshing: rather than demolishing, removing and replacing stone with concrete, they wanted to create social housing that engendered pride – and achieving that meant creating high quality living spaces whilst giving the building the care and attention it deserved – and all to a carefully controlled budget.

The work

Key aspects

Turret: Earlier renovations had removed the timber substructure of the turret, leaving the outer brickwork unsupported. The turret was now beginning to lean over the street and risked collapsing, creating urgent health and safety issues at street level. We tied the turret back into the main structure of the building to protect it for generations to come.

 Stonework: We engaged specialist masonry teams to restore stone and brickwork, replacing eroded sandstone bays and sills and protecting the character of the building.

Plasterwork: Sharp corners, clean edges and simple boxes make life easier for plasterers. This property was anything but easy. With bays, arches, high ceilings and awkward angles created by the turret, our teams had their work cut out. They restored damaged plaster covings too.

Porch: Rotting timber meant the porch needed stripping back to replace the wood before it could be repainted in its original Victorian colours.

Results

Evolution isn’t the only contractor busy renovating Blackpool’s affordable housing stock, but when Blackpool Housing Company wants to set the benchmark for its redevelopments, it now uses Park Road as a template for design, construction and health and safety standards.

“This project was all about balance – about retaining and restoring the things that gave this property its charm and character, whilst being clear about the end goal. Despite the restoration work, this was a project turned around on a tight timescale and a tight budget. At Park Road, Evolution demonstrated that challenging financial controls don’t have to mean settling for identikit, lowest common denominator social housing. We’re setting the bar for how good affordable housing in Blackpool can be.”

Paul Thompson Head of construction, Blackpool Housing Company

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