Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Finding the Right Balance; the Lack of Land Available for Building Is Leading to the Growth of Niche Developments Says Architect Neil Turner

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Finding the Right Balance; the Lack of Land Available for Building Is Leading to the Growth of Niche Developments Says Architect Neil Turner

Article excerpt

ALACK of developable land within popular residential areas, rising land values and a desire to make good use of the resources available, have combined to foster the growth of some very attractive niche developments on infill sites.

While most councils will allow for infilling and small-scale developments (Government planning policy still allows for building in gardens in built-up areas, including side gardens) there are some restrictions, for example if you wish to build within a conservation area or an area of special significance.

In the right circumstances, infill developments can make a useful contribution to the housing land supply and add to the overall quality of a village or neighbourhood. This is especially the case where a conscious effort has been made to complement - or perhaps contrast with - the local area in terms of design, scale, building density and layout so that the new infill development looks right in its setting.

Such a site became available recently on my home patch in the Tyne Valley, which was ideally suited for the creation of two individual and contemporary houses.

When a site as special as this comes along, it deserves houses that will look fantastic and are a joy to the buyer. Making use of the fabulous woodland setting, the houses are built from a palette of materials that harmonise with the existing stone and render of properties in the village.

Three storeys high with a single storey link to a two-storey living room, the carefully-considered design prevents the properties from looking massive and out of place within this woodland setting and instead, affords wonderful views both from within and outside.

Small urban plots also provide a superb opportunity to create niche, one-off developments in residential areas where developable land is particularly scarce.

One such is being marketed on West Avenue, in Gosforth, a very central location in a sought after area of Newcastle Here, superb use has been made of a site formerly occupied by the old Magistrates Court to create two semi-detached, five-bedroom family homes, featuring conservatories and benefiting from super gardens, a garage and parking. …

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