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Regenerating a troubled estate into an award-winning showcase

A former council estate, which became synonymous for poor quality housing, crime and anti-social behaviour, is part-way through a major regeneration which is giving its new and returning residents a feeling of security and sense of pride about their new community.


riginally known as Swilly and renamed North Prospect in 1969, the development is two miles north of Plymouth city centre and is the largest regeneration project in the South West.

Under the management of Plymouth Community Homes (PCH), the project

involves demolishing 800 homes, building 1,110 new homes and refurbishing a further 300. Building commenced in 2011. The third of five building phases is now underway. To help address concerns about the reputation of the former Swilly estate and

to encourage confidence in the new development, PCH approached Secured by Design (SBD), a national police crime prevention initiative, to work with architects, developers and local authority planners to ‘design out crime’.

PLANNING FOR SECURITY Planning meetings involving SBD’s specialists started long before building commenced, meaning that security has been embedded into the layout, landscaping and physical security of all properties in North Prospect. SBD’s advice on the built environment included creating safer spaces through

greatly increasing natural surveillance. Front garden hedges were replaced by railings whilst high fences protect rear gardens. Properties have living rooms that overlook cars parked either in the street or within the curtilage of the building and gable end walls with windows provide visibility over pathways and public spaces. There are no alleyways at the rear of gardens and no hiding places. The physical security of properties includes products that meet SBD’s

prefered specification, such as external doors and accessible windows that are sufficiently robust to resist attack from a casual or opportunist burglar. Front doors have quadruple locking systems, door chains and spy holes as well as letterboxes with protective cowls to stop thieves using rods to ‘fish’ for vehicle keys or other valuables left inside. Every property has been fitted with an external light. Rear garden gates have two bolts and a separate key-lock and every lockable shed has a large metal ground anchor to help protect bicycles, motorbikes and mowers.

PCH approached Secured by Design (SBD), a national police crime prevention initiative, to work with architects, developers and local authority planners to ‘design out crime’ | HMM January 2018 | 27

Devon and Cornwall Police reported a fall in recorded crime in North

Prospect by 62 per cent between 2007-2016 in four key neighbourhood crime categories: residential burglary has fallen by 49 per cent, criminal damage by 84 per cent, vehicle offences 78 per cent and violence against the person 14 per cent. The results are testament to the vision and determination shown by PCH who have become well practised at making North Prospect succeed

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