Estate Regeneration - Alma
The London Borough of Enfield selected Countryside as preferred bidder to regenerate the Alma Estate in 2014, a 6.08-hectare residential estate adjacent to Ponders End railway station. The development required a complex decant strategy and demolition, including four 21 story towers, on a confined site with multiple private land holdings breaking up an otherwise cohesive masterplan boundary.
The regeneration when complete will create a sense of place, anchored by a landmark 16-story building and a new station square creating a gateway to the estate from the railway. Amenities for residents will include a gym, medical centre a community and youth centre and the re-provision of the Ponders End High Street.
In the early stages of the project it became increasingly clear from both internal and design team discussions with the Council that there was excellent potential to expand the site boundary of the regeneration. This would offer Countryside opportunities to optimise the design proposals to increase density and the connectivity of the public realm. It would also deliver a faster and cheaper build programme that would expedite the decant process and reduce need for residents to move twice.
To gain a better understanding of the benefits of including further sites Countryside commissioned design studies at-risk. Discussions including the Council were held alongside the initial design and community engagement plan which also included local stakeholders. The Community Board, elected by residents, helped to facilitate discussions between Countryside and the Council throughout the process. The result was that together six potential sites, which could be incorporated into the overarching masterplan and vision for the Alma Estate, were identified.
The estate’s existing residents, community groups, as well as those neighbouring the estate were the key consultees for this regeneration. Countryside’s work with these groups has been hugely successful throughout and has led to our work being highlighted as a case study for ‘Tenant involvement in regeneration’ within ‘The Mayor’s Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration’.
To engage with stakeholders, during the pre-development stage Countryside undertook significant resident and stakeholder consultation, which included the residents from the existing 746 homes. Overall, the project achieved an 84% approval rating from residents in favour of regeneration.
A successful engagement process helps involve people in the journey, empowering them and helping to deliver a community focussed development. The projects communications strategy ensured all stakeholders had a forum to put forward their views, alongside which we were able to manage their expectations, and put together a liaison strategy and agree realistic timescales. The result is that residents have directly informed the design of their future homes, outdoor spaces and new community facilities.