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PRP first down Manchester's £90m PFI housing Pathway

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PRP Architects has won the first Private Finance Initiative Pathway project for housing. The £90 million scheme covers the Plymouth Grove and Stockport Road estates in Manchester.

The practice is part of the Grove Village Consortium - comprising Harvest Housing Group, Gleeson Homes, Powerminster, Nationwide, Gleeds, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Eversheds and ABA Engineers.

The Pathway projects are the government's first foray into the PFI for housing - eight local authorities were selected to take part in the pilot scheme in 1999. Manchester is the first authority to award preferred bidder status. PRP is also in the running for two additional Pathway projects - in the London Borough of Newham and in Leeds. The remaining five projects are in Reading, the London boroughs of Camden and Islington, North-East Derbyshire and Sandwell in the West Midlands.

The Manchester scheme includes 661 refurbished or new-build homes, with between 400 and 500 additional homes added in further phases.

Community facilities will also be added as well as retail, open community spaces and an improved road layout.

Barry Munday, chairman of PRP, told the AJ:

'Obviously we're delighted. It's a huge contract and we've worked on this for two years. It was a very challenging project, with huge drug crime, encouraged by many dark alleys, dead ends and a bad street layout. We created a central spine of green space which is a walkway and cycle path.

We've opened it up, making it more permeable and created a centre for the community.'

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