Around 6,000 people living in Newcastle’s West End are in line for new homes thanks to a £265m regeneration scheme to transform the area. The Rise at Scotswood is the product of a public/ private joint venture – the New Tyne West Development Company, NTWDC – comprising Newcastle City Council and developers Barratt Homes and Keepmoat.
The project’s aim is to reverse the long term decline of an area which has suffered heavily from the reduction in heavy industry by creating a diverse, sustainable community living in about 1,800 well designed, modern, energy efficient homes – linked to a district heating centre.
About 1,200 terraced homes in a pre-war housing estate were cleared from the sloping, uneven 60 hectare site, which overlooks the River Tyne and outline planning permission was achieved in 2007.
The partnership agreement was signed in 2011 and construction began in August 2013.
Some of the development is intended to reflect neighbouring streets while other parts incorporate small mews-style courts, and all are close to a range of open spaces linked to the enhanced Hodgkin Park and leisure facilities to the west.
Homes on The Rise will be a mix of property styles and sizes, designed to a masterplan from architects Ian Darby Partnership. All properties will be built to Level 4 of the Government’s Code for Sustainable Homes – higher than the required standard – and are also compliant with the Lifetime Homes and Secured by Design standards.
A district energy centre, developed in partnership with E.ON – the first of its kind in the region – will provide heating and hot water to the homes – reducing carbon emissions by up to 35%.
The development has been planned for five phases of residential and mixed use building over 15 years. The first focuses on creating a new community of 378 mixed tenure homes – of which 58 are for affordable rent - within a high quality setting.
NTWDC development director Lee McGray said: "The recent regional and national awards recognise the care that went into planning the project and the exceptional standard of community involvement from the outset. This is already reaping its rewards.
"As The Rise grows and develops into a vibrant neighbourhood, we continue to work with the local community to deliver a new, bright and exciting future for Scotswood."
The community has been involved throughout – sitting on a joint working group and attending workshops to comment on and influence design and local schoolchildren helped to select the first street names. There had been ten years of local community consultation under the banner Going for Growth – The New Neighbourhood, facilitated by Newcastle City Council – prior to work starting on site.
Audrey Bushell, a Scotswood resident for more than 40 years, said: "It’s a dream come true. They have done a great job and I’m very happy for the people who can move in to the new homes. It’s a new era for Scotswood and Newcastle."
Scotswood resident for 70 years, Alma Wheeler, said: "We wanted to acknowledge the rich Roman history of our region and discovered that many of their settlements had attractive names. They were ambitious builders too, so it seemed appropriate to use these historic names on a new and exciting development right beside the Hadrian Way."
The influx of workers has boosted local business and new jobs have been created, including 14 apprenticeships. Workshops were staged to alert small, local businesses to the opportunities available through the project. These were followed up with advice and training sessions to assist those not familiar with such procurement processes.
About a quarter of the development will comprise affordable homes – owned and managed by a registered housing association. There have been more than 130 reservations for homes on the 378-property first phase of the development – a mix of apartments, two, three and four-bedroom homes – and 65 have been completed with some reservations being received before six show homes opened to the public.
Lesley Fairclough, partner and head of development at law firm Ward Hadaway, which is providing legal advice on the sale of completed dwellings at The Rise said: "It is fantastic to be involved in such a large-scale development which will really change the face of the west end of Newcastle.
"The Rise is the largest housing-led regeneration initiative in the North East and it is already proving to be a real draw for home owners keen to move into modern, energy-efficient properties in a redeveloped area of the city.’’
Barratt and Keepmoat opened the show village of six show homes in April, boosted by the news that the local Bridgewater Primary School achieved the ‘Outstanding’ rating in all four Ofsted inspection areas – placing it in the top 20% of UK schools. Having promised to invest in education, NTWDC funded classroom assistants at the school, which is being expanded and modernised by Newcastle City Council - providing more places for families moving to The Rise.
To date 92 homes have been sold in the open market and a further 58 have been acquired by Tees Valley Housing – making a total of 150 already acquired. Of the open market sales 66% were to buyers who moved less than five miles and 80% less than 10. Almost two thirds (64%) were 30 or under and 75% first time buyers. In addition 82% of all those who had bought, took advantage of the government’s Help to Buy scheme.
The four main reasons these buyers gave for choosing a home at The Rise were price, style (both 25%), proximity to work (14%) and location (13%). New resident, Emma Ndoni, who moved to The Rise with her husband and daughter, said: "We were renting a flat and wanted to get onto the property ladder but stay in the area where we work. The houses are fantastic and just so affordable that we took the plunge. We’ve never regretted it one bit. Even though it’s still a building site it doesn’t feel that way and there is a community spirit already developing."
Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: "Scotswood plays an integral part in our Local Plan, which includes a commitment to create 14,000 new jobs and build 21,000 new homes for a growing population."
The Rise has already won a regional Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors award and won the national Royal Town Planning Institute Awards. It is also one of only a handful of UK developments to achieve ‘Outstanding’ in the Design Review and Enabling Services’ Built for Life assessment.
Lee McGray, development director with New Tyne West Development Company (NTWDC) said: "The recent regional and national awards recognise the care that went into planning the project and the exceptional standard of community involvement from the outset. This is already reaping its rewards. As The Rise grows and develops into a vibrant neighbourhood, we continue to work with the local community to deliver a new, bright and exciting future for Scotswood."
As a public-private partnership, NTWDC allows for the sharing of risk, the ability to secure funding from a range of sources and provides a range of skills, crucial in the delivery of a scheme of such size and complexity.
Through the company’s core business of home building, investment will be generated and channelled into community and economic regeneration of the area.
NTWDC points to a number of potential benefits the regeneration could provide: increased opportunities for community and individual involvement in culture, sport, education, leisure and local service delivery as part of the wider city council initiatives; investment in the new neighbourhood and in green spaces and leisure areas to support the city council’s investment in improvements at Hodgkin Park and Hadrian’s Way; the establishment of a new housing market for high quality new build properties in Scotswood; a contribution to the delivery of a new physical infrastructure across the Scotswood neighbourhood to support and enhance the demand for new housing; and a catalyst for regeneration to the wider surrounding areas of the West End of Newcastle.
Newcastle City Council has ring fenced funding to support the development of the new housing scheme. This includes areas such as the investment to redevelop and improve the local primary school, the redevelopment of Hodgkin Park and highways improvements to areas of the existing community.
Lesley Fairclough said: "The Rise is a terrific example of how developers can work with local authorities to produce schemes which are truly transformational.
"We look forward to working with New Tyne West Development Company over the coming years and to seeing how The Rise takes shape in providing hundreds of new homes for families on Tyneside."