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Top design award for City Council housing scheme

A Winchester City Council housing scheme has won a prestigious design award.

Symonds Close at Westman Road, Weeke, won the Residential Quality Place Award in the 2016 Solent Design Awards.

Cllr Caroline Horrill, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:

Congratulations to everyone involved. This is great recognition of our place-making credentials: from concept through to planning and construction.

Our aim is not just to build much-needed affordable council houses but to make homes that people want to live in and love. This award is a tribute to the attention to detail that staff put into each new homes project.

The scheme was completed in June 2016 and provides 12 council homes - a mix of family houses and homes for down-sizers.

Paul Ramshaw, from the Quality Places Practitioners’ Group which organised the awards event, said:

The quality of entries this year has been fantastic and whittling the shortlist down to just eight was an incredibly tough job for our judges. There are some industry-leading examples of place-making and buildings making a real difference to the people and environments around them.

The awards evening took place on 24 November at the Spark building at Southampton Solent University.

The Westman Road site was formerly garages and an underused area of open space. Winchester City Council commissioned T2 architects to design the homes. F E Chase won the contract to build the scheme which started on site in April 2015 and completed on 22 June 2016.

The homes are designed to high quality standards to reflect the Council’s rigorous planning and affordable housing policies.

All meet ‘lifetime homes’ criteria which means they can be adapted easily to enable residents to remain in their homes as mobility needs change.

The homes meet high standards for efficient use of energy and water. They are well-insulated and have photovoltaic roof panels to provide renewable energy.

A local lettings plan was agreed to enable priority for people with a local connection to Weeke.

Residents took the tenancy of their new homes the day after they were completed and 50% are occupied by households with a local connection to Weeke. Four of the homes set around a communal green were offered to people down-sizing from a larger property, thereby releasing their vacated property for a family.

As part of the community benefit, the scheme funded improved open spaces in the area. Following consultation with local people, these included an outdoor gym at Dean Park and tri-trail equipment at St Matthew’s Field.

The homes are part of the Council’s ambitious programme to provide 300 new affordable council houses by 2022, 83% of which are already built or under way.

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