A groundbreaking project to create ‘homes of the future’ in Newcastle city centre has been given planning permission.
The ‘Future Homes’ project, led by the Future Homes Alliance in partnership with Newcastle City Council and their development agent Karbon Homes, will see a community of 66 affordable homes built at Newcastle Helix, the 24-acre innovation district at the western edge of Newcastle city centre.
The homes will all be affordable and will be a mixture of social rent and Rent to Buy, allowing people across the community to live in the new development.
The project, which is hoped will gain support from Homes England, aims to be an example of sustainable urban housing, with flexible living space to suit different residents’ needs.
Professor Rose Gilroy from Newcastle University, founder and chair of the Future Homes Alliance, said: “From a commitment in 2016 to work together and develop an innovative housing response to demographic change and sustainability, the Future Homes Alliance has worked collaboratively to demonstrate that there can be innovation and creative design in affordable housing. This is a proud day for us and our partners.”
The Future Homes project is the brainchild of the Future Homes Alliance (FHA), a community interest company formed by Newcastle University, Ryder Architecture, Zero Carbon Futures, the Elders Council, the Sustainable Communities Initiative, and the Innovation Super Network.
It aims to help tackle issues which the UK’s existing homes do not address, such as the country’s ageing population and a lack of opportunities for young people in the housing market.
The project will see three new buildings developed at Newcastle Helix, each six to eight storeys high and built with modular steel façades and green roofs.
The homes will feature innovative concepts such as moveable partitions, allowing rooms and layout to be configured to suit the needs of different households.
The buildings will also benefit from a range of communal facilities such as gardens, mini-allotments and secure cycle storage – aimed at making them sustainable and affordable to run.
It is envisaged that up to five ‘demonstrator’ homes will be used to test innovative tech products, gathering data which could lead to their wider adoption in housebuilding.
Ged Walsh, director of development at Karbon Homes, said: “This development presents Karbon with a fantastic opportunity to explore new ways of providing homes.
“We’re delighted to have worked successfully with our Future Homes Alliance partners to win planning approval, and can’t wait to see the project start to become a reality on site early next year.”
Cllr Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture at Newcastle City Council, called the announcement ‘another huge milestone’ in Newcastle Helix’s development.
Cllr Bell said: “This project is a perfect example of how the eco-system at Newcastle Helix is supporting the creation of new, innovative products and services.
“I look forward to seeing how the developments can help transform the way we all live, improve our health and become more sustainable.”
The Future Homes project will form just part of the residential element of Newcastle Helix, which is expected to deliver almost 400 homes by 2025.
Image: An architect’s drawing of how the new ‘Future Homes’ development will look. Credit: Ryder Architecture