Now however, the fortunes of Scotswood and its residents are changing for the better as the largest residential development-led regeneration scheme in the North East begins to make its mark on the local landscape.
The Rise, a scheme to construct some 1800 well designed energy efficient homes, is the result of an innovative public/private joint venture. Comprising Newcastle City Council, residential developers Barratt Homes and housing and residential specialist Keepmoat, The New Tyne Development Company (NTWDC) is the forward thinking organisation behind the scheme. After six years working on The Rise, the team’s vision and expertise was recently rewarded by securing the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) National Planning Excellence Award.
The scheme marks a significant £265 million investment and has been designed to address growing housing needs by building energy efficient homes using sustainable materials within a sustainable community. It will integrate new build properties with the current residents through the enhancement of existing public spaces and creation of new landscaped spaces, combined with an improved road network and the introduction of new retail and community facilities.
The design has overcome issues such as the steep gradient of the site through the creation of a tiered landscape, maximising views across the Tyne Valley. In addition, street patterns have been structured to create a movement network which is accessible as well as simple and easy to use. Meanwhile, connections to existing routes allow the new development to integrate with the surrounding areas ensuring that the neighbourhood is easy to access.
The development also marks a first for the region with the introduction of a central district energy centre. The energy centre will produce enough energy to supply both heat and hot water to each of the 1800 homes. Installing a district energy centre reduces the site’s carbon emissions by up to 35%, adding to its sustainable credentials, and ensuring that The Rise achieves Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. It will also significantly reduce the energy costs for each of the households.
The site’s masterplanners, idpartnership northern, have evolved an innovative and considered design approach which has taken account of local people’s aspirations and suggestions.
Furthermore, compliance with the Considerate Constructor scheme ensures both water and energy efficiency and reduces pollution which aims to cut the amount of waste heading to landfill sites by at least 85%.
Materials used in construction achieve exemplary Green Guide ratings with insulation having a global warming potential of five or less.
White goods are energy efficient, while smart meters installed in each home will monitor electricity consumption, allowing owners to take full advantage of energy saving opportunities. Similarly the installation of “low flow” taps and water butts reduces water consumption, with recycling and composting facilities in place to minimise waste.
To encourage ‘greener’ living, cycle storage is provided and information on the available public transport options is provided to residents in a detailed home user guide.
In total the scheme will be delivered over five phases; each designed with its own character. Some properties currently under construction on the first phase have been designed to reflect neighbouring streets, while more intimate mews courts will provide residents with their own personal spaces, and create a richer and more interesting landscape.
Some of the homes will feature terraced rear gardens and some will be split-level, corner turning properties, thereby breaking up the elevations.
Considering the impact that the massing of such a large development would have in the area, particularly when viewed from a distance, IDP’s designs adopt a ‘dazzle camouflage’ approach using a range of brick types, renders and cladding as well as roof tiling to provide contrasting colours and textures.
The design also incorporates a string of “green oases” delivering the all important green open spaces ranging both in type and size which link to the existing park and leisure facilities, situated to the west of the site.
Planning ahead, the homes have been designed to achieve Lifetime Homes standard making them easier to adapt to meet residents’ needs as they grow older or circumstances change. Typically this includes 20% larger homes to enhance flexible living arrangements.
According to IDP’s managing partner, Mark Massey, for regeneration to truly work the views of the community need to inform and underpin the development of the masterplan. The community needs to fully understand the need for change and how it will be delivered, and feel that they have an active part in the delivery process.
Prior to start on site there had been 10 years of local community consultation under the banner ‘Going for Growth – The New Neighbourhood’, facilitated by Newcastle City Council. The findings of this process led to the formation of the New Tyne West Development Company.
From the outset, NTWDC sought the support of the local community, and committed residents played a key part on steering groups. These have continued to play a major role in making it what it is. During the consultation process the views of residents of all ages including students from the local schools were gathered and considered so that they could help to shape the final outcome.
Mr Massey said: “Involving the community in the process was fundamental to The Rise’s development and getting us to where we are now. Following an extensive consultation process, where designs were put on display and feedback was sought from both residents and businesses, a joint working group was established with local residents who between them had 300 years experience of living in Scotswood.
“These residents became actively involved in the pre planning stages attending workshops with our urban design team to comment on and influence the design of The Rise. This allowed them to take ownership of the development.”
“The Rise is really about resurrecting the fortunes of a once thriving area and creating a sustainable community. I am delighted to say that, although it’s early days, early evidence from the number of home sales and people interested in locating to the development, suggests the renaissance is beginning.
“This scheme is an exemplar project with regard to first rate community engagement, design and construction on a significant scale, creating new facilities and the environment to re-establish a community. Everyone involved in the scheme is proud to have played a part in its success to date.”
Since construction began 36 months ago The Rise is already delivering many of the promises made during the preparation process. One staunch campaigner for reinvestment, Audrey Bushell, who has lived in Scotswood for over 40 years said: “It is a dream come true. They have done a good job and I’m very happy for the people who can move in to the new homes. It’s a new era for Scotswood and Newcastle.”
Since officially launching the site, almost half of the units in Phase One have been sold.