We designed and developed an innovative housing project enabling every person to have their own front door and independence required in line with their needs. Our Team have been an early pioneer of the ‘apartment project model’ to satisfy the holistic requirements of supported living. This new initiative was to provide an opportunity to bring together all historical expertise and knowledge to design a bespoke unit.
Commissioners locally had gathered data and intelligence that concluded that many of its vulnerable population were being supported, at increased cost, out of borough. Not only were these citizens unable to participate in their environment of choice (i.e. their home town), but such ventures had a negative impact on the region’s care budgets.
Our Team were enlisted to develop a multi-agency supported desire, steering it from concept to completion. The key stipulations of the brief where to:
- Provide quality housing for those who, from assessment, required single-person dwellings
- Create an architectural plan where each home had its own exterior front door, and be able to accommodate adaptations
- Consider within the design the quality of life and wellbeing for the designated vulnerable group, along with sustainable tenancies, and;
- Develop an exemplar ‘best value’ model
The integrated working team was made up of Commissioners, representatives from care, Social Services and Health, Occupational Therapy, Planning and Building control, and TP Supported Accommodation with its development unit.
The local authority was open to the prospect of regenerating any suitable land and dwellings. However, due the property mix and topography, this sift proved fruitless. Our Team were able to enter into the purchase of green belt land that had planning permission to construct a residential care home upon it. The planning department suitably amended the class through ‘change of use’ regulations, and the project was defined to be of an eight month duration.
The programme of multi-agency meetings considered or achieved the following:
- TPSA appointed and project managed a suitable architect and building contractor. The designer chosen was experienced in care home design and was guided by the company to accommodate the needs of supported living, a market which had no formal regulation controlling plan development.
- As quality of end product was central to the brief TPSA extended its usual operations to accommodate far more in terms of tenant and family engagement.
- The final stone build design ingeniously used the undulating terrain to not only provide the required ‘individual front doors’, but also create at the site’s extreme a double storey block to carefully offer more dwellings. In addition, a horse-shoe shaped plan provided a sense of community, with sensitively planned communal gardens to offer opportunities for interaction and low cost maintenance. A self contained ‘staff flat’ enabled 24 hour support to be offered, with the added convenience of an intercom with tenants, and a monitored fire system.
- PACT community engagement was fronted by TPSA As a result positive support was given by the locality. This assisted during planning, building and final tenant community participation phases.
- The project was primarily ‘person-centred’ around the tenants. Social services and health representatives had identified the future tenants, holistically considering needs and the ‘mix’ of the scheme. Individuals were drawn from a range of vulnerable groups including, mental health, learning disability, physical disability and autistic spectrum disorders. Such careful analysis provided void reduction; adaptations, furniture selection and decor could be built into the design from the outset.
Each apartment consisted of a:
- Unique exterior opening front door
- Open plan lounge, kitchen and dining area
- Double bedroom
- Bathroom with shower (or adapted bathing facilities)
Using the recommendations of suitable parties such as occupational therapy, aids and adaptations were considered, costed and adopted. Full use was made of fiscal housing and disability facilities grants to absorb such costs – reducing the housing benefit burden.