Bentilee Joint Service Centre
In February 2005 Regenter won the PFI contract for the construction and maintenance of a new walk-in service centre in the heart of the Bentilee housing estate in Stoke on Trent.The project involved the demolition of the existing centre, the design and construction of the replacement building and the provision of maintenance and domestic services to the centre for 25 years.
Prior to embarking on the work, we erected a temporary retail village to ensure existing shops in the former centre could continue serving the local community during the project. We also agreed to underwrite income from these shops until they were re-housed within the new centre and, furthermore, to guarantee rent to Stoke on Trent City Council for any vacant retail units in the new building. All the former site’s retailers were offered first refusal on availability in the joint service centre, and we are pleased to say the large majority transferred across.
Construction completed in February 2007. The new joint service centre offers local residents access to local authority, primary care and community services under one roof. A doctor’s surgery, dentist, housing office, library, computer suite and youth centre are located alongside a number of retail units which include a pharmacy and a café.
To underline Regenter’s commitment to the local community while building work was on-going, we sponsored a ‘Dads and Lads’ football team to use another pitch while we built alongside the play area, we buried a time capsule and organised a competition to design a flag for the construction site. We continue to run a number of local events and competitions with the aim of encouraging young people in the area to engage with the new centre.
A challenging aspect to the Bentilee PFI scheme was that it involved a number of different stakeholders and sub-contracted third parties, which meant multiple negotiations and greater risk of delays. For example, Stoke on Trent City Council has signed a stakeholder agreement with North Stoke Primary Care Trust for the provision of health services within the centre and although Regenter’s contract for the project is with the Council, we were - and still are - careful to accommodate the interests of the PCT.
A further complication was the land title for the site. The leasehold was jointly owned by the Council and the Primary Care Trust, while land immediately adjacent was a freehold site owned by Co-op and Kwiksave supermarkets on a long-term lease from the Council. Consequently, before work could commence, it was necessary to amend conditions of the long-term lease. To facilitate the process, Regenter purchased Kwiksave’s lease and rented the supermarket building to the project’s construction partner for the duration of the work.