THE keys to a ground-breaking new tenant-led housing development have opened the door to a bright new future for Barnstaple residents. The official opening yesterday (Tuesday)of the 22-home site at John Smale Road, Sticklepath, came just five years after

THE keys to a ground-breaking new tenant-led housing development have opened the door to a bright new future for Barnstaple residents.The official opening yesterday (Tuesday)of the 22-home site at John Smale Road, Sticklepath, came just five years after tenant Angela Provan presented a petition to landlord North Devon Homes on behalf of residents who were concerned about the "atrocious" condition of their homes.Described by Angela as "a dark place to live," the 18 outdated pre-cast reinforced concrete flats were built in the early 1950s and only designed for a 20-year life-span.Angela's petition sparked a series of meetings between residents, district councillors and North Devon Homes, which resulted in exciting new plans for the site. In June, 2006, bulldozers moved in to enable the new homes to be built."I nearly cried when I saw them for the first time," Angela told the Gazette. "North Devon Homes have given residents a future. "I feel so happy that people can have a better quality of life in a quality home. They can look forward to a future where the standard of their housing isn't going to hold them back. "The community in Woodville has fantastic spirit and it just goes to show what people can do if they get together with the right attitude."Local councillor Cllr Des Brailey, who was involved in the discussions with residents, said North Devon Homes deserved credit for the way it had responded to tenants.Elaine Yorke, customer involvement manager, said: "This is the biggest development project that North Devon Homes has undertaken to date," "It is very a rare event to have a tenant-driven regeneration such as this and I don't know of any company that has responded to a petition, simply because residents didn't like their housing."Entirely paid for by North Devon Homes, this project is different because tenants approached us and initiated the development by telling us what they wanted."Martyn Gimber, North Devon Homes chief executive, added that the company was very proud of the development, which has been built to high eco-friendly specifications."The fact that it was initiated by our customers further consolidates our ongoing commitment to involving them in the decisions that affect their homes and communities," he said. "This is a fantastic way to start the New Year.