Public Sector: DTW joins Boro's housing crusade

Middlesbrough Council has hired DTW to support its housing renewal programme as it seeks to push its regeneration agenda to town centre residents.

The town is undergoing a radical image makeover and wants to redevelop the residential centre, dominated by rows of terraced housing that are over 100 years old.

Of the 12,000 properties, around 1,500 face possible demolition, in agreement with residents, said DTW director Doug Allan.

'There is not a lot that can be done with them, so we must build new infrastructure. The council will replace some housing with modern houses,' he added.

DTW will provide information and literature for consultation meetings with communities and stakeholders. Its brief is also to persuade residents that change is 'inevitable and desirable'.

DTW's sister company, PPS Consulting, has been contracted to manage part of the council's Housing Conditions Survey, a regular task that councils are required to conduct. PPS will carry out 1,400 full surveys and 7,000 external inspections of houses in Middlesbrough.

The North-East council has already hired Citigate Smarts to dispel its "industrial backwater" image and to create a new brand identity for the authority and district (PRWeek, 18 February).

Middlesbrough's town centre housing was built rapidly as local industry expanded at the turn of the last century, including iron ore mines and ship building.

However, the decline of these industries has left more than seven per cent of the population unemployed, more than double the national average.

Middlesbrough also appeared in the top ten of the UK's worst places to live in the book Crap Towns II, published last September.

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