New road named after community campaigner

A tireless community campaigner who touched the lives of people living in Bestwood, Nottingham, was honoured this week when a road was named after her at a new housing scheme.

Pat Chambers, who died at the age of 71 in 2012, was an active member of the Bestwood area and was a committed volunteer at the local community centre where she was chairperson.

Pat’s family gathered this week at the launch of Gainsford Close, a new housing scheme of 38 bungalows for people aged over 55. At the scheme, a cul-de-sac has been named Chambers Court to commemorate Pat’s years of work in the area.

At a special naming ceremony, three of Pat’s four daughters and grandson Paul Unwin joined with councillors and residents to celebrate the opening of the new scheme.

“My mum would have been so proud,” said daughter Gabriella Wright of Annesley. “Pat started a residents’ association and was a person who got things done. She won the respect of so many on the estate.”

Gabriella’s sister Maria Wright said: “They called her ‘the people’s voice’ as she worked so hard for the people who lived in this area.”

The Gainsford Close development is a partnership between Nottingham City Council which provided the land, building contractor Westleigh Developments Ltd and housing provider Derwent Living which will manage the properties via Nottingham’s HomeLink choice based lettings system. The partnership arrangement has received £300,000 in funding from the Homes and Communities Agency’s Affordable Housing Programme

Suzy Brain-England, Derwent Living’s board chairman said: “Pat was respected by so many people and so it is truly fitting to name a road after her – and just around the corner from where she used to live.”

 Councillor Dave Liversidge, Nottingham City Council’s portfolio holder for commissioning and the voluntary sector, said:  “These new bungalows provide high quality homes for older people living in the city.  The development will offer modern, attractive and easy to manage homes in place of a sheltered housing scheme for which demand was very low. 

“Nottingham needs a mix of high quality housing to suit the city’s older population and this, in turn, should free up under-occupied and much needed family housing.

“By moving vacant sites like Gainsford Close forward for suitable development, the city council is proactively helping to meet the need for local affordable housing, giving a boost to the local housing market and providing employment, training and supplier opportunities for local job seekers and businesses.”

 Suzy Brain-England added: “The Gainsford Close scheme shows that we are helping to regenerate areas where there is a need for new affordable housing. By working in partnership with Nottingham City Council and Westleigh, we are able to deliver high quality homes which meet the needs of the community. This was one of three sites that were subject to competitive bids and we are delighted to be the first to complete and deliver new homes.”

The scheme is part of one of the city council’s manifesto pledges to provide accommodation for over 55s.

“We have an ageing population and this scheme in Bestwood will help to alleviate under occupation of houses in the locality and to get more appropriate homes for people who are getting older and need properties on a single level. These properties will open up opportunities to free up family homes.”

 Ian Jones, development director at Westleigh Developments, said: “It is a great show of partnership between ourselves, Derwent Living and the city council. As well as providing 38 bungalows for the local community, we are also providing a tremendous boost to the local economy.”

 The spacious bungalows have been built to a high standard with special attention given to access, design and energy efficiency. The development meets the Building for Life Gold Standard, with at least 10% of energy needs being supplied through renewable sources and 26% of the scheme being built to the Lifetime Homes standards.