What it s like to live there: the views of residents on the design of new housing

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1 What it s like to live there: the views of residents on the design of new housing

2 Contents Overview 1 Case studies 5 The challenges 28 Appendix 1 Research methodology 37 Appendix 2 Questionnaire for residents survey 38 Appendix 3 Template for focus group discussions Published in 5 by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. Graphic design: Duffy Printed by Ernest Bond Printing Ltd All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, copied or transmitted without the prior written consent of the publisher except that the material may be photocopied for non-commercial purposes without permission from the publisher. This document is available in other formats on request from the publisher. CABE is the government s advisor on architecture, urban design and public space. As a public body, we encourage policymakers to create places that work for people. We help local planners apply national design policy and advise developers and architects, persuading them to put people s needs first. We show public sector clients how to commission buildings that meet the needs of their users. And we seek to inspire the public to demand more from their buildings and spaces. Advising, influencing and inspiring, we work to create well-designed, welcoming places. CABE 1 Kemble Street London WC2B 4AN T F E

3 Overview CABE s housing audit provides a unique insight into the quality of new private housing getting built in England today. It helps government, developers, and local authorities understand what is going right, what is going wrong, and why. The audit is now completed for the three northern regions of England and the three regions of the greater south east. It uses the 16 criteria which make up the Building for Life standard as a benchmark of quality. In making the assessment, we visited each of the schemes as well as undertaking wider research to help us understand the processes that led to the creation of each development. However, we recognise that this is only part of the story. CABE knows a great deal about urban design but we are only temporary visitors to these neighbourhoods: how do the new homes measure up for the people who actually live there? People s choice: what s it like to live there? The design of new housing has to be attractive to residents and deliver on the practical requirements of getting to work, bringing up children and all the other everyday dimensions of our lives. We have therefore tested our professional judgement against the views of residents: to see if our assessment bore any relation to their views; and to see which elements they themselves identified as good and bad. For this study, we commissioned independent researchers to conduct in-depth, face-to-face interviews with a random sample of residents, supplemented with a focus group at each development, using the same themes of the Building for Life criteria to tease out what it s like to live there. In total, 241 residents from the 11 schemes ( per cent of residents in total) were asked to give their views on the places where they lived. This has enabled us to draw comparisons between the scores of the housing audit and residents assessments of the same schemes. The research findings have also contributed to our understanding of the ways in which the actions of planners, architects and developers can contribute to making places where people are genuinely happy to live. Findings The findings show that, in many cases, residents share very similar views to the housing audit assessment. In only two of the 11 schemes was there a divergence of more than per cent in the total scores. However, there are also some differences. In six schemes residents score the scheme in which they live more highly than the audit and in five schemes residents give it a lower score. The similarity in the key issues identified by residents in the southern and northern developments was also very striking. This suggests there is no great north-south divide in homebuyers attitudes, just as there is no real contrast in the level of design 1 Overview

4 quality being delivered by housebuilders in the north and south of England, on the basis of CABE s audits. In terms of specific issues and concerns, the feedback from residents usually emphasised the findings of the audits. But it also added new dimensions. Sometimes these pose a real challenge to the assumptions of urban designers about what good practice is, and we address how these might be resolved in part three of this report. Street life: residents preferred cul-de-sacs with no through traffic The importance of creating a sense of place The lowest scores tended to be awarded by residents where there were few or no features within the development that they felt gave it a distinct identity, although 68 per cent of respondents across the schemes rated their development as quite distinctive or very distinctive. In a number of the developments residents told us that a public garden, open space or a river frontage had been effectively used to create a strong sense of place and identity for the housing scheme. Where an existing building had been included sensitively within a predominantly new housing development this appeared to make a significant contribution to whether residents felt the place had real character. Dealing with the cars The most controversial aspect of new developments for the residents was the design of the streets and the provision of car parking. Fewer than half of those questioned in our survey thought the layout of the development for car use was quite easy or very easy to navigate. Residents preferred developments where there was an absence of through traffic, and some welcomed the creation of cul-de-sacs, which were often associated with a quiet environment where it was safe for children to play. Car parking provoked heated debate, with only 46 per cent of respondents scoring the layout of car parking as good or very good. This was often less about the design of parking and more about the level of provision, which was felt by most people to be inadequate for the scale of car ownership and demands for visitor parking. Attempts to restrict parking spaces as a means of curbing car ownership were felt to be unrealistic and to have little or no impact on the number of cars a household would acquire. Using public transport Most adult residents said they use a car for most or all of their journeys from home. Some admitted to never having walked out of the housing development. Despite the proximity of bus services to some of the developments, use of public transport was low. Just over 5 per cent of survey respondents thought that there was a good bus service available; but per cent didn t have a view, indicating how unimportant the service was to a sizeable proportion of residents. Bus travel has a poor image for most residents and their perceptions of its lack of reliability and infrequency contributed to a preference for using the car. There was also an underlying sense in some of the discussions that bus travel did not equate with a modern, upmarket lifestyle. 2 Overview

5 Meeting the neighbours In most of the developments there seems to be little or no social interaction between residents. And it appears that this is often by choice, not simply because the streets and other public spaces within a development are not conducive to meeting the neighbours. This poses another big challenge for urban designers setting out to create spaces for people to meet. Although people often knew of their immediate neighbours, this only occasionally extended to socialising on any scale. The low scores given by residents for the availability of informal spaces to meet, from cafés to places of worship (viewed as good or very good by only 14 and 15 per cent of residents respectively), may help to explain this. There had been attempts in some developments to hold an event, such as a barbeque, but none of these appeared to have attracted others or been described as a success. Many residents felt that they had busy lives with work and family and they did not seek to make friends or socialise within the development. Trust and information The study revealed another set of concerns relating to the quality of service and product homebuyers receive from developers. Despite the satisfaction derived from moving into a new home with 73 per cent quite or very satisfied with the interior of their home there were concerns expressed by the residents of many schemes about the standard and quality of the building works. In particular, the use of sub-contractors to deliver individual elements of the building programme appeared to the residents to lack coordination or proper quality control. Furthermore, in a number of the developments, residents described how the marketing literature had listed intended amenities or services for the scheme, that had never materialised. This illustrates the findings of a CABE survey of 9 homebuyers in 4, which revealed that only 3 per cent of the residents surveyed considered housebuilders as very trustworthy sources of information when choosing a new home. Out and about: but social interaction is rare 3 Overview

6 Positive outlook: but our audit does not always make comfortable reading for the professionals This report All of the 241 residents who contributed to this report had lived for at least a year in one of 11 housing developments. Five of these 11 were located in the South East, East and London regions, and six in the North West, North East and Yorkshire & Humber. They were chosen to ensure that a good range of regions and types of location were represented (inner city, suburban, town and village) and that they reflected a range of different overall scores from the housing audits (poor, average, good, very good). The full description of the study s methodology can be found in Appendix 1. The survey and focus groups with residents using as a structure the Building for Life themes and criteria addressed four main areas in assessing the features of new developments: sense of place and character streets and parking design and construction environment and community. The rest of the report sets out the detailed findings for each of the 11 developments, before moving on to draw out the key lessons and challenges posed by them. As this report is a companion to the two housing audits, we do not make a full set of recommendations here for government or the industry these are dealt with in the other reports. However, when specific issues are raised we do highlight where change is necessary. We believe that by drawing on the experience of residents, this research adds a critical dimension to the charged debate surrounding the design quality of new private housing. The findings do not always make comfortable reading for architects, designers, developers or policymakers. But they add a richness to our understanding of where schemes can be improved, and fundamentally, of what homebuyers want. 4 Overview

7 Case studies This section considers the 11 case study schemes (five in the south, six in the north). Residents were questioned through an in-depth survey and focus group to establish their views on design quality in their home and neighbourhood. This process mirrored the audit in which the design professionals scored each Building for Life criteria. Each case study presents: comparative scores, including a breakdown of scores in the four themes identified in Chapter 1 key issues articulated by residents, illustrated using quotations and related photos of each scheme.

8 Harrisons 9 Wharf Region 8 South East Location London Road, Purfleet, Essex Setting 7 Suburban Developer Bellway plc Size 3 homes 5 The audit gave this scheme a score of 44 per cent on streets and parking, reflecting the dominance of car parking in the main internal spaces (although the local authority negotiated a reduction in standards to 1.2 parking spaces per unit after what was seen as over-provision in the first phase). The residents panel gave the scheme a high 76 per cent rating for the streets and parking section, representing satisfaction with the layout of the scheme for car users and pedestrians. Residents appear not to be put off by wide dominating roads and large areas of poorly landscaped parking. Many residents of this scheme would like parking for two cars plus provision for visitors. Comparative residents (left) and audit (right) scores by theme Sense of place and character The key feature that gave residents of Harrison s Wharf a clear sense of place and identity was the location of the blocks of flats along the river frontage: The view is what makes this place different Some residents commented that greater use of glass would have maximised the benefits from the views, as well as the space and light: The views win it. It might compromise the design but there should be more glass because the view is so good and it is what makes this place so different from anywhere else we ve lived A brick wall encloses one flank of the development and divides it off from the adjacent hotel and pub. Some residents regretted that the wall did not continue to enclose the whole development with gating to enhance 9 security to the housing and especially to the car parking overall sense of place and character streets and parking design and construction environment and community

9 Streets and parking Although close proximity to the railway station with services to central London was identified as one of the key reasons for choosing to live at Harrisons Wharf, most residents use their car for all other journeys. Many identified a lack of adequate parking with only one space per property and little for visitors: It would put a family off living here with only one space and most people having at least two cars. There are only a small number of spaces for when friends or family call and they can t usually get into them anyway The majority of those interviewed felt that the car parking added to the attractiveness of the development people associated car parking with the value of the property and felt that potential buyers expected new developments to have safe and convenient parking: We have two cars. You have to here to get anywhere, so we need more parking spaces, it s as simple as that. People expect it these days. I would not buy a place if I had no car parking space but now we realise that we shouldn t have bought without having two Design and construction Residents liked the distinctiveness of the design of the flats on the river frontage: These are the only flats like this in the area and everyone around here knows the development. There s a lot of new building going on now but they tend to be just the usual rows of houses, all the same. These are different with the pillars outside and the river views Residents were also frustrated with the lack of space to meet their changing needs: Well we re not really moving because we re fed up with living here, we like it. But we want a slightly bigger space because of increasing the family. If that wasn t the case, I would be happy to stay on here, but it s such a pity that there s no space and we have to move. If only these things and people s changing needs were thought through properly when new housing is built Main road flats are like a lot of other housing that is built around here Residents were less keen on the housing to the rear of the site and flanking the main road. This was not thought to have any features that gave it a particular identity: I think the other housing is OK, it s modern but looks like a lot of other housing that is being built around here. I don t think it blends particularly well with the existing housing along the main road, but I don t think that matters much. The same could probably be said about a lot of the other new housing around here Environment and community The score for local services was low in comparison with those given for the other themes. Residents scored the community aspects of their scheme 18 per cent lower than the audit. This mainly reflected the low availability of services, especially shops in the vicinity of the scheme. 7 Case studies

10 Beaulieu Park Region East Location White Hart Lane, Chelmsford, Essex Setting Suburban Developer David Wilson Homes Size 2 homes Sense of place and character This scheme has the biggest gap in overall score between residents (57 per cent) and the audit (8 per cent). The audit praised the overall masterplan, considering that roads were safe and well connected and the building was of good, if not exceptional architectural quality. However, the residents panel considered roads too narrow and parking provision insufficient. Residents seem not to be getting the sustainability message about the desirability of reducing car journeys and incorporating mixed communities. Aspirational lifestyles seem to be identified with exclusivity and owning more and larger cars rather than sustainable forms of transport and layouts where the pedestrian takes precedence over the car. Comparative residents (left) and audit (right) scores by theme In addition to the large scale of the development, residents identified that the variety of house sizes and differing exterior finishes collectively contributed to a sense of place and a distinctive identity: I think the fact that the houses are so mixed gives its own identity. It reminds me of New England houses with the finishes on them. Although not everyone likes it and some people think it s Toyland, at the end of the day I think it s better than living in a row of terraced houses that are all the same The variety and its size is what people associate immediately with Beaulieu Park. People all know it locally Residents felt the open space was enhanced by the retention of local features such as a mature oak tree 9 and the planting of new trees. These gave the whole development a welcome 8 green feel and a sense of space overall sense of place and character streets and parking design and construction environment and community

11 Streets and parking Residents felt the estate connects well with the existing roads and paths and that successful efforts had been made to reduce the impact on the housing on the main peripheral road: They ve put a bank of higher ground in there, they built up the banks and put in new vegetation to reduce the sound and screen the road. I think if you ve got any housing development by a busy road then that s a must However, residents described the road layout within the development as something of a maze and felt the tendency for roads and pavements to merge into each other was unsafe. They also thought some roads were too narrow and could cause difficulties of access for emergency services, especially given the volume of on-street parking They thought car parking provision was inadequate given the high level of car ownership and said some residents were moving out for this reason. Some residents found the garages too small for the size of their cars, especially four-wheel drive or SUVs. I think problems with the garage size is a common thing. Cars are fairly big and wide these days and the width of single garages is probably not big enough. And I would say as a general building principle I think garage width should be at least six inches or maybe a foot wider. It would cut down on people having to park on the street Design and construction Most residents in the survey identified the variety in design and exteriors as one of the most appealing features of Beaulieu Park: I do like the different styles, there was a choice of about five different styles and even the ones that aren t brick are in different colours. That and the sheer number of new houses here make the place different Environment and community Some residents liked the mix of low cost and larger, expensive housing within the development: As a model for new housing, I don t think the design is anything new. The bit that is new is that the government are saying that these new housing developments should include an aspect of affordable housing. That s not a problem I think at Beaulieu Park but it doesn t make it different. What makes Beaulieu Park stand out a little bit more are the greater number of the larger houses, and the scale as well However, it was acknowledged that residents tended to only know people who lived in a similar tenure and size of property to their own: It s got the potential to be a community but personally I only probably really know my neighbours, people who live in the same type of house as I do. I don t think there s much mixing. I also think there s a bit of a divide between the affordable housing and the people that have bought The lowest score was recorded for the community facilities. Residents identified a low availability of local services in the immediate neighbourhood with car trips the most frequent mode of transport to access for shopping and leisure. 9 Case studies

12 Willow Court Region East Location Windley Tye, Chelmsford, Essex Setting Suburban Developer Bellway plc Size 21 homes Sense of place and character Willow Court residents score sense of place at 91 per cent the highest score given by residents across all themes and case studies. The inclusion of a well-maintained communal garden is clearly a key element in resident satisfaction with this scheme as well as a clear identity giving the feel of an Essex village. Residents want to live in distinctive neighbourhoods which gives them a sense of belonging. The green space at Willow Court is an integral part of the layout ensuring that both public and private space positively impacts on all aspects of the development. Comparative residents (left) and audit (right) scores by theme Willow Court scored exceptionally highly in residents assessment of a sense of place. The garden at the centre of the development, partly encircled by the new houses, was a key feature that residents said gave the development a clear identity. Another key feature for attractiveness and identity were the water meadows, overlooked by a crescent of new houses: The architecture is superb with good views and the little garden. The mix of houses and particularly the crescent of houses overlooking the open fields create a vista not unlike the Royal Crescent in Bath. It has a traditional feel but with all the modern amenities Residents felt the development made good use of the existing landscape with all the houses having a green aspect that 9creates a sense of space: You re never really cheek by jowl to your neighbours but we ve 8 all got a clear view. That makes for space and I never feel that there s a lot of housing 7 here because I look out at the meadow Easy access from the development to the water meadow was a feature particularly welcomed by young people 5 overall sense of place and character streets and parking design and construction environment and community

13 Streets and parking Residents thought the simple road layout, mainly encircling the central garden, was easy to navigate by foot or by car and the modern tendency not to build streets makes for a more pleasant outlook rather than everything in rows. Although there are bus services close by to Chelmsford town centre, most of those interviewed at Willow Court chose to drive even to take their children to and from a popular private school that is within walking distance. Some residents thought the car parking was adequate, but others felt that there was too little given the levels of car ownership and the demand generated by visitors Design and construction The space within the development and between the properties contributed to its appeal, and residents feel the design around the communal (and well-maintained) garden contributed to a special ambience: I like the way that the green space in the middle of the development has been made a feature. The village nature of the development gives it a unique identity. To us it has the feel of an Essex village Environment and community Although residents tended to score the availability of local services as higher than in some other case studies, use was fairly low. Residents tended to travel to the town centre or elsewhere to access a greater variety and quality of services, especially for shopping and leisure Residents felt that development had the potential to meet lifestyle changes because it had four- and five-bedrooms houses, and that over time this might help to build up a sense of community. 11 Case studies

14 Bolnore Village Region South East Location Haywards Heath Setting Rural Developer David Wilson Homes Size 21 homes Sense of place and character This scheme had the lowest overall score from residents (42 per cent) of any of the case studies. The residents panel clearly felt let down that community facilities that had been promised them have still not been built. Nearly all of the residents ranked the provision of shops, pubs, cafés/restaurants, places of worship and GPs as very poor. There is a real need to ensure that the community services and facilities included in planning applications and marketing literature are delivered on the ground. Comparative residents (left) and audit (right) scores by theme Residents identified that the scale of development and variety of building styles over the whole scheme gave Bolnore Village a sense of identity: We have certainly got our own identity in the village. They built what I call that medieval bit in the middle and then they ve done like the rustic 18th century bit at the top. The different styles of the houses are amazing I think. They ve tried to make it look like things were built at different times, which is quite good because it looks like it developed gradually rather than all at once Residents appreciated the relationship of their housing to the existing landscape of trees and fields: It is a real bonus being surrounded by fields and trees and not just houses. 9 It makes you feel part of the country and gives you a bit more space and some peace 8 and quiet. I like how some of the housing appears to have been built to take advantage 7 of the views and the greenery However, there were concerns that the vegetation within the development overall was quite sparse: You can see they have tried 5 to keep it quite green. That s as you re driving down through the village and through the posh bit at the top with the flowers and all that greenery. Here, as it is now, they appear to have done the bare minimum and I think they should ve put in some nicer plants and flowers like they have at the top. Here it s a bit bare overall sense of place and character streets and parking design and construction environment and community

15 Streets and parking Residents in one part of Bolnore Village felt the roads were difficult to navigate by car and on foot: The roads are not well designed down here. There are tight corners, often for no apparent reason, and with people parking their cars and vans on the corners, it makes it dangerous with blind corners. I can imagine also that with people parking their cars half on the pavement, it makes it tricky with a buggy to get through Most residents felt that the car parking was not sufficient with many two-car households and, as a consequence, road safety was compromised by on-street parking. For some residents, the location and lighting of the parking area was identified as a security issue. I ve got a parking space round the back of my house so when you walk round it s like an alleyway. At night it s dark, there s no lighting so it s not safe to be walking down there Design and construction The small part of Bolnore Village that was the focus for the case study included some variety in the styles of houses and flats that residents found appealing with most properties felt to be soundly constructed and with good amenities. The design is personal and looks different from many houses that I ve seen. The design and construction is quite traditional. It is well laid out and spaced and not too much packed in on the development. It gives the overall impression of being spacious Environment and community Although most residents felt positive about their housing, the key concern that impacted negatively on their satisfaction with living at Bolnore Village was the absence of any facilities, reflected in the exceptionally low score for the community theme It was observed that since the development had been marketed as a village environment, community facilities had expected to be an integral part of this: We were told the community centre and the doctor s were supposed to be there but it s down to the council to build apparently. The developers have given them two years to build it and if they don t then we understand that the contractors will take it back to develop more housing. That leaves us with nothing! I don t think a lot of people will want to stay here then Although the central square of Bolnore Village included space for shops, the layout of the service roads precluded any major retailer from taking up retail space Although children s play areas had been installed, there was criticism that the features were not easy or attractive for a child to use. Prior involvement of parents could have ensured the installation of childfriendly equipment. 13 Case studies

16 The Aspect Region London Location Tysoe Avenue, Enfield Setting Urban Developer St James Size 84 homes Sense of place and character Residents scored The Aspect much higher than the audit on sense of place, streets and parking and design and construction. Residents were happy with the small, welllandscaped blocks of flats and parking spaces that were also well landscaped. As the only London scheme, residents consider their development to be spacious and attractive. However, this may be more as a result of low expectations from comparable developments in the area. There is a need to raise expectations to demand high-quality design from all new housing developments. Residents felt the blocks were well spaced with landscaping and water features close to the development and that this contributed to the visual appeal of The Aspect and its sense of identity: The landscaping and the water feature make it peaceful and comforting. The buildings are not crowding in on each other. There are not many places where you can see ducks out your window. It s definitely a good feature Comparative residents (left) and audit (right) scores by theme overall sense of place and character streets and parking design and construction environment and community

17 Streets and parking The majority of residents thought that the layout of car parking contributed to the attractiveness of the development assisted by the landscaping of the spaces. The fact that people can park at different angles rather than in straight rows was also said to make it more attractive than the standard design for car parking Although residents thought the road layout was good for car drivers and pedestrians living at the development, parents driving through The Aspect at either end of the school day caused problems when they delivered and collected their children from the adjacent primary school Most of those interviewed considered the car parking to be inadequate as most households would have a minimum of two cars. They also thought there were too few spaces for visitors. Previously on the new developments people have had two allocated parking spaces per flat. Here people have got only one allocated parking space and some of them have more than two cars. It doesn t matter that you only put one space for each flat, people will still go ahead and get the number of cars they need. Limiting the spaces doesn t limit the number of cars that people have Design and construction The concentration of new, small blocks of flats with balconies and brickwork lighter in colour than that used in surrounding buildings were identified as features that gave The Aspect an individual identity: I was very impressed when I saw the housing, visually it did look very nice and I thought this is a clean presentable development, it should be a nice place to live. Over a period of years, colour schemes for facades go out of fashion. Here they have kept it plain but not too plain, but it means that in ten years time it ll still look good The space between buildings gives a sense of not being overcrowded: The buildings are not on top of each other and that makes you feel more private, even though these are all flats. There are lots of windows too which I find aesthetically pleasing and make the flats light and airy Environment and community The community theme scored far lower than the other three themes for The Aspect. Although residents were aware of the availability of local services, few used them but preferred to take car trips to other shopping and leisure facilities where it was perceived that greater choice and quality was on offer There were some incidents of children playing ball games in the car parking areas and it was suggested that there should be a children s play area within the development. This was not a view shared by everyone as some residents did not believe this was housing designed or appropriate for young families. 15 Case studies

18 St Peter s Quarter Region Yorkshire & Humber Location Leeman Road, York Setting Inner city Developer Taylor Woodrow plc for Wilson Connolly (Northern) Size 229 homes Sense of place and character The scheme again shows the value of a central feature such as a fountain or communal garden (as in Willow Court) to creating a sense of place. Residents give this theme a high rating of 82 per cent. Parking was again a major concern for residents even though the scheme is within walking distance of city centre facilities and high-frequency bus and rail services. However, some residents identified a lack of bike storage resulting in bikes using parking spaces. Notwithstanding this, there is still a massive shift needed in residents perceptions of public transport. Comparative residents (left) and audit (right) scores by theme Most residents identified that the scheme was highly distinctive through variety in the styles of the houses and flats. Owner-occupiers in particular felt that the appearance of St Peter s Quarter was of a quality, up-market development and very different from the traditional terraced housing in the immediate area. The houses are only two years old but with a traditional feel. The Georgian features of windows and the street furniture means that St Peter s is an upmarket oasis in what was a rundown area at the side of the railway Many residents referred to the role of the fountain feature contributing to the sense of place as well as creating a focus for the development. The layout is easy to understand if you pinpoint directions from the fountain. 9 You can see the whole development at one go from the fountain area and that helps. I 8 always tell people who are visiting to head for that overall sense of place and character streets and parking design and construction environment and community

19 Streets and parking Although within walking distance of York city centre and with a bus service running adjacent to the development, car use was high with few residents regularly using public transport or choosing to walk. The adequacy and distribution of car parking was a key issue for many residents: There is a lack of adequate parking and they never calculated how many car users there are likely to be with all these flats and houses. As a consequence, people park all along the roads and even on the pavements. Those of us who have allocated parking spaces often can t get to them. It is not just irritating or unsightly. It undermines how we feel about living here There are parts of the development which are really quite difficult as a pedestrian because to cross the road you ve got to go at a tangent to actually get to a point to take a buggy up on the pavement. That whole situation is exacerbated by parked cars on corners where you can t get round Some residents identified that the lack of bike storage for the flats worked against residents using cycling as an alternative to the car Design and construction Although there was some concern expressed about the quality of construction, generally residents assessed the design of the housing with the variety of houses and flats as appealing and contributing to the identity of the scheme: The different brickwork, the slate roofs and the black solid front doors all creates a real sense of quality and consistency. The lamps and the ironwork blend well together With the houses built on the crescent, they do not face each other directly and that s important for giving you a sense of privacy. The crescent shape and the conservatories built for the houses create a sense of space and quality Environment and community Although within walking distance of York city centre, in the assessment of local services many of those interviewed referred specifically to inadequacy of existing shops and pubs in closer proximity to the scheme. Few used these more local services because they found the choice and quality on offer did not meet their needs or lifestyle Some residents commented that: A play area here is needed for all the children. We do need more communal green spaces to sit and relax in, especially as there are a lot of flats here and we don t have our own gardens like the houses Some owner-occupiers were concerned about mixed tenure aspects of the scheme: The actual design concept, in theory it s absolutely wonderful because you could get a lovely mix of people with the different tenures and house sizes. But then of course you can get a situation where people are less responsible because they are only on shortterm lets, here for only three or six months. 17 Case studies

20 The Broadway Region North East Location Springwell Road, Grindon, Sunderland Setting Suburban Developer Cecil M Yuill Group Ltd Size 8 homes The residents panel scored the scheme much higher on the community criterion than the audit report. Residents welcomed the mix of housing types in the scheme giving choice for varying age groups and households and helping to create a sense of community. It is not clear why residents here see a mix of housing types, age groups and households as an advantage where residents elsewhere see this as a problem. A possible explanation could be that the development successfully targeted its range of residents to fit with the scheme s mix. Other schemes may benefit from giving greater consideration to the range and mix of existing housing and meet more clearly defined needs. Comparative residents (left) and audit (right) scores by theme Sense of place and character Although the development scored comparatively high on a sense of place, there is no specific feature within it to create an identity or focus. However, residents commented that the variety of dwelling styles (including flats and houses), the spacing between properties, and the scale of the scheme all helped to create a sense of identity and sense of place for the Broadway: Other places where there are large housing developments tend to be very uniform. Here there is a bit more character and the way it s laid out with the houses spaced out and not in rows makes it look different, I think. There is more individuality and that gives Broadway a special feel as somewhere a bit different overall sense of place and character streets and parking design and construction environment and community

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