Development of Karen Court, Scunthorpe

A development of 8 apartments for rent on the site of a former Garage Block in Scunthorpe

Project: Karen Court, a Development of Eight Apartments (Four Two-Storey Blocks) for rent.

Client: North Lincolnshire Homes

Site Manager: Chris Sowerby

Completion: December 2014

Karen Court is a prestigious development of eight one-bedroomed apartments in Scunthorpe; designed by Grimsby Architects ‘Ross Davy Associates’ (RDA) and built by Scunthorpe Building Contractors ‘T.G. Sowerby Developments Limited’, for North Lincolnshire Homes (NLH).

Karen Court’s previous existence was as two adjacent garage blocks, one owned by TGS, the other by NLH. The garages were old, tired and worn out. By pooling their land resources together, NLH and TGS created a viable development site and RDA were brought on board to design a suitable housing scheme.

The scheme brief was for Social Housing, but targeted to meet a specific need, providing independent living accommodation for Adult Tenants with Learning Difficulties. The lack of housing of this type in Scunthorpe leaves the Local Authority forced to procure accommodation outside the local area, with all the upheaval for the tenants and costs for the Local Authority that accompany that. The Karen Court Development means eight adults with learning difficulties can remain in Scunthorpe and resultantly is expected to net the council a saving in excess of £150,000 in the first year of occupation.

The project was a trailblazer, the first in the region with funding from the HCA’s Care and Support Specialist Housing Fund to start on site. Ground was broken on the project by Councillor Liz Redfern (Leader of NLC), Helen Fielding (HCA Area Manager) and Helen Wright (NLH Tenancy Support Manager). The project was also featured in the HCA’s National Newsletter.

Works on-site were overseen by the Building Control Team at North Lincolnshire Council and the Surveyors from LABC’s Structural Warranties Scheme.

The dwellings achieved Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3, through the incorporation of sustainable features such as A-Rated Boilers, Low-GWP Insulants and materials carefully chosen to produce low ceiling, wall and floor u-values.

The Apartments themselves are dual-aspect, each benefiting from a balcony to the front and a garden area to the rear. In keeping with the independent living approach, each apartment has its own parking space and front door.

The apartment blocks are each made visually unique through various colours of cladding which has been incorporated and which contrasts with the blue facing bricks.

Internally, the apartments are designed to maximise and optimise ease of movement. Much of the apartment is open-planned and where there are doors, they are pocket sliding. The bathrooms are full wet-rooms to maximise their accessibility.

The project made an extremely positive contribution to the local area, a brownfield site has been returned to productive use, transformed from run-down garages to first-rate housing stock and the Local Authority has been saved from having to send eight people from Scunthorpe to far-flung parts of the county, just to find them housing. Additionally, the project allowed TGS to create employment opportunities for several young people from the local area with a number North Lindsey College Students taking up Work Experience placements on this project, leading to several then taking up Apprenticeship positions.

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