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Minister sees skills boost at Mulberry Park



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Housing Minister Gavin Barwell saw how local people are benefitting from skills and employment opportunities at Mulberry Park today.  Housing association Curo is working with local partners to deliver training and jobs alongside new much-needed homes at its landmark development in Bath.

The Housing Minister visited the Mulberry Park site with local MP Ben Howlett and Council leader Tim Warren.

On the visit, Gavin Barwell MP met several local people who are completing work placements and apprenticeships at Mulberry Park.  Nick Hoskins has just successfully secured an apprenticeship with carpentry contractor ProCarpentry and Bradley Bush is on Curo’s graduate programme.  Curo is also providing accredited work placements through an innovative partnership with Bath College and local construction firms that gives participants the opportunity to get work experience while gaining an accredited qualification.

Curo is also creating apprenticeship opportunities at Mulberry Park and across its housing and support organisation.   By 2020, Curo aims to deliver 100 work and educational placements, 70 jobs with training and 15 apprenticeships at Mulberry Park.

Construction skills

Construction is a growth sector for the West of England, with major projects including Hinkley Point nuclear station and the newly announced Dyson research and development centre in Wiltshire in the pipeline.  A skilled local workforce is key to delivery of these major projects, and to B&NES Council’s target to build more than 12,000 new homes across the Bath area by 2029.

Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell said: “It’s been great to visit the Mulberry Park development – it reflects the ambitious vision set out in our Housing White Paper.

“Our lasting reforms will help to get more of the right homes built in the right places. This challenge cannot be met by government alone, so we want to work together with developers to deliver innovative housing developments. It’s all part of our plan to help make sure the housing market works for everyone.”

Curo Chief Executive, Victor da Cunha said: “We’re proud to be delivering on our social mission here at Mulberry Park.  Alongside the beautiful new homes, this development is making such a vital contribution to the local economy - with outstanding community facilities and beautiful open spaces and fantastic training and employment for residents.”

Local MP Ben Howlett added: ““I am delighted at the speed of progress in building new homes at Mulberry Park.  We urgently need more houses here in Bath and I have been most impressed by Curo’s ability to bring this project forward.

I was also delighted to meet the apprentices on site, and commend Curo on their investment in constructions skills which are again needed to ensure further infrastructure projects such as this can proceed here and elsewhere in the South West.”

Delivering new homes

Mulberry Park is a major scheme, being built by housing association Curo.  The development of the brownfield site will deliver 700 high quality, energy efficient homes – of which 30% will be affordable housing - a new primary school and nursery, a community hub, a park and public open spaces.  During the development, the local economy will benefit from construction jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities. 

The development at Mulberry Park has received support from central government’s Housing Zone initiative, designed to accelerate house building.

Construction progress

On site, Gavin Barwell MP saw the progress towards completing the first new homes at Mulberry Park, just 24 months after Curo secured full planning consent.  Built using traditional construction methods and local materials including Bath stone, the first homes will be ready for residents to move into in Spring 2017.

National status

Mulberry Park, alongside the proposed regeneration of the Foxhill estate, was designated as a Housing Zone by central government in 2015.  In October 2016, B&NES Council approved a Charter setting out its shared ambitions for the Housing Zone with Curo and the local community.

Victor da Cunha said “The Foxhill Housing Zone is a scheme of national and local significance.   The support we are receiving from the government and the council has been invaluable to create new homes and a long term sustainable future for Foxhill.”

Pictured, l-r: Bradley Bush (Curo Graduate), Gavin Barwell MP (Housing Minister) and Nick Hoskins (carpentry Apprentice).


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