The project comprised the construction of 18 accessible homes for rent for the over 55s market, which included a mix of six two-bedroom bungalows, six one-bedroom Tyneside flats and six two-bedroom Tyneside flats in the Westerhope area of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
The Brockwell Grove and Newbiggin Lane development was the first 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.
The scheme is of a robust and aesthetically pleasing design which caters to the varying needs of the residents. A limited palette of materials has been used throughout the five sites with pitched roofs on all properties. 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 developments not only provided much needed high-quality accommodation, but 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 on several of the developments to create a safe and protected area for vulnerable residents, with access to ground floor apartments via courtyards.
The sustainability of the development was strengthened through our sensitive approach to lifecycle costings, which has focused on adopting a high-quality specification using leading industry manufacturers with extended and comprehensive warranties and selecting materials which were inherently low maintenance in order to minimise life-cycle costs.
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.
Tolent ensured the properties were handed over smoothly to the client, handing over the O&Ms and to the client’s agent Kajima, Newcastle City Council, Fairer Housing and Your Homes Newcastle, who then passed these onto the residents.
Although Tolent were not contractually obliged to do so, Tolent worked in close collaboration with Your Homes Newcastle to create a bespoke Home User Guide which was specifically tailored to the development to help the end-users in their new homes.
This included information to help the over 55 end-users to care their new home; information about the landlord, the properties; information about their neighbourhood and local amenities; how to save energy in the homes and recycling information; information about electrics and alarms, the gas supply, boiler and central heating system; and a comprehensive frequently asked questions section.
The Home User Guide was designed specifically with the over 55s in mind, with larger, easy to read text which was simple, clear and concise and all information was supplemented with images to add clarity to instructions.
Tolent offered this service to the client through our in-house design resource and Aftercare team who liaised directly with Your Homes Newcastle to ensure the content of the Home User Guides was robust and fit-for-purpose before Your Homes Newcastle passed them onto the new residents.
Ensuring Zero Defects
To ensure there were zero defects at handover, during the construction stage we held monthly progress meetings which included a walk around the site with all parties including Kajima, Newcastle City Council, Fairer Housing and Your Homes Newcastle to inspect the monthly progress.
Although Tolent were not contractually obliged to do so, Tolent ensured that Your Homes Newcastle could carry out regular checking and snagging.
As the site drew closer to completion, fortnightly and then weekly site visits were introduced for general inspections until project completion.
This hands on approach with Your Homes Newcastle, who would be the landlords of the new tenants, resulted in a smoother handover at project completion and also allowed Tolent to better understand the specific needs of the end-users which informed our designs.