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Out and about with Carol Carter



Armed with my sunnies, sunscreen and bottle of water and of course umbrella and cardi (just in case) I arrived at our brand new development Harrow and Wealdstone Heights –conveniently across the road from the rail station (Just 14 minutes from Euston!).
What a transformation this has been after years of hard work and persistence by our Development team, from the unpromising looking semi derelict site with run down industrial buildings and waste land I saw six years ago to a truly regenerated area providing 105 high quality, spacious and well-appointed affordable rent and 81 shared ownership homes. 
Our walk around took in the show homes, the secure (rustic-meets-industrial) external bike stores, toddler play areas, underground car park, commercial units and one of the roof terraces - providing stunning views across London as well as the underpass that divides the site, and a discussion about how to make the best use of this space. I was fortunate to be able to meet and chat with three of our residents too, all of whom were delighted with their new homes after a long wait in unsuitable temporary or unaffordable private rented accommodation
There has been a lot of work to get the new scheme off to the best possible start with teams working closely together on the ground to try to pre-empt the management issues that can arise once homes are fully occupied. It was especially good to hear that lessons had been learned from the experience of the first couple of years after the handover of other buildings around working closely with residents and being proactive in preventing management problems such as security concerns.
From there,  I went over to the residents afternoon fun event at Byron and Moore in central Harrow, arriving as Origin staff rushed around setting up tables, gazebos, games and background music. It was great to see people from various Origin teams, Gilmartins and the local authority Safer Neighbourhoods Team coming together and welcoming residents who gradually emerged from their homes, many with children in tow - with the kids almost immediately launching into playing the games on offer and getting their faces expertly painted. The fish and chip food truck was also very popular!
It was apparent from my chats with residents that they love their homes and have seen a real improvement in the management of the scheme over the last year or so. The security concerns they have experienced have significantly reduced through intensive work by the teams, and residents are really happy with the standard of cleaning and caretaking. It was clear that the consistent effort to listen to and engage with residents around various issues and to work together to take action has made a huge positive difference and is now helping to make sure that these fantastic homes are really appreciated.