The project comprised the construction of 61 apartments with assisted living as well as communal facilities and café in the West Denton area of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
The scheme is of a robust and aesthetically pleasing design which caters to the varying needs of the residents.
Careful attention was paid to the positioning of the design elements to create a unified design which knits the different housing and residential units together, ensuring bungalows are only overlooked by blank gables.
The development not only provides much needed high-quality accommodation but has also created community hubs and safe connecting areas for the residents; including courtyards and community cafes which create a protected and introspective space for residents to socialise and spend time.
Furthermore, dementia design features have been incorporated into the landscaping strategy to create a safe and protected area for vulnerable residents, with access to ground floor apartments via courtyards.
Tolent worked in complete collaboration with members of the client team, including planning, highways, LFFA, YHN, Fairer Housing Unit and Adult Services to achieve the client’s vision of an inclusive development that fits with current and changing needs.
All of the homes were fully wheelchair accessible and adaptable and exceeded Part M of the building regulations, meeting the minimum requirements of building regulations Part M4 (2) Category 2 by building the homes to be accessible and adaptable dwellings, and compliant with BS 9266:2013 ‘Design of accessible and adaptable general needs housing – Code of Practice’. This helped to reduce the need for expensive or disruptive alterations or substantial adaptations in the future.
Designing facilities which are dementia friendly can be challenging because research into dementia is on-going the best practice guidance is constantly evolving in-line with societies developing knowledge around dementia.
To ensure the development met best-practice standards and that all facilities were designed to help sensory, mobility or cognitive impairments, Tolent designed Allerdale House using DSDC standards, the world leader on the design of services and environments for people with dementia. DSDC carried out an expert independent audit which provided a cost-effective way of rating the environmental design of the development. This included ensuring physical issues such as lighting, colour contrast, signage, textures and sensory stimulation went hand in hand with technology and adaptations to have a positive impact on the facility.
For example, the site features signs which have been specifically designed for those with cognitive disabilities which incorporate dementia principles which will soon become the British Standard used across all public buildings including schools and libraries. This demonstrates how Tolent incorporates forward-thinking and end-user led design, with a strong emphasis on future-proofing our housing designs, to deliver homes for the future.
Through following these best-practice standards, the scheme received an independent Dementia Design Audit Certificate from the University of Stirling Dementia Services Development Centre with a Gold rating.
The Allerdale House development was delivered under an innovative and unique financial model which means the client had no capital outlay during the construction period and instead, construction was funded via a third party, known as the Annuity Lease Back Model (ALBM).
Upon completion, the client pay an annual rental from monies received from tenants.
Tolent was able to ensure the annual rental was below the threshold, creating a surplus which was used to maintain and manage the properties.
Tolent is currently on site delivering the next phase, ALBM 2 (£27m), with Newcastle City Council which brings the total number of units delivered to 347 across eight sites under the same Annuity Leaseback Model.