Video: Forches demolition gets under way

Joseph Bulmer

First homes come down in large-scale regeneration of Barnstaple housing estate.

THE bulldozers have moved in to demolish the first of 111 homes on the Forches housing estate in Barnstaple.

Post-war pre-cast reinforced concrete homes in and around Berry Road and Gould Road are being knocked down as part of a multi-million pound North Devon Homes scheme to regenerate the area.

The first phase of the Forches project will see 40 houses replaced with 65 new affordable, energy efficient homes and is set for completion in March 2013.

The work follows weeks of careful asbestos removal, the stripping of materials for recycling, decanting of slow worms and environmental checks for bats.

In total, 111 defective properties are being replaced with 143 new homes in three phases. The breakdown of phases two and three is still to be confirmed although the entire regeneration of Forches is set to be complete by October 2014.

As the first homes were knocked down yesterday morning (Wednesday), project manager Rob Gort of contractor Frank Haslam Milan, told the Gazette that phase one of the demolition would be complete by mid February, with the first foundations for the new homes likely to be laid in March.

He said: “Once we have established access to the site we will be putting temporary infrastructure in place and working systematically to demolish homes throughout the development.

“All of the timber, metal and plasterboard is being separated on site and will be taken to waste yards.

“Concrete and blocks are being crushed on site and will be re-used for matting throughout the development.”

Stephen Snooks, regeneration project manager at NDH, said: “For almost two years the proposals for Forches have been progressed with our partners, such as North Devon Council, and we are very excited to see them come to fruition.

“This will provide much needed, high quality new homes in North Devon.”

In similar regeneration schemes, North Devon Homes is replacing PRC homes in Fremington Braunton, Instow, Bratton Fleming and Lovacott.