They were initially nominated by Lancaster City Council’s Building Control Team for the housing scheme Moss Bank Place which consisted of 25 properties, eight of those being Affordable Homes purchased by The Guinness Partnership Housing Association.
Their submission for the Award highlighted that the site is located on a steep sloping bank; and a major challenge was to deliver a 1:20 gradient wheelchair friendly accessible loop all the way around the site.
A lot of time and effort went into the site design at an early stage of the project to ensure that the requirements of Part M Building Regulations (access to and use of buildings) could be achieved not just on every plot, but on the whole site.
The slope was used to great effect to allow views from the majority of the new houses, over the existing houses located on the other side of Mill Lane over to Morecambe Bay to the west, and Warton Crag to the North.
The site is in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which creates some additional layers of planning requirements; such as the need for specific materials, as well as restrictions on ridge heights for some of the new houses.
The top row of dwellings needed to set at a specific floor level, using retaining walls and rock anchors at strategic points throughout the site allowed this to happen.
The storm drainage design was also a major issue. As is commonplace in the Lancaster District, stormwater from new developments cannot be discharged into mains drainage.
The initial storm drainage design for the development showed that the stormwater could only just be accommodated on site.
However, during the design phase, a request was made by County Highways for the development to accommodate significant amounts of water from the existing Highways Network and the neighbouring Public House. This led to the redesign of the storm drainage system, including the installation of drainage crates and the inclusion of a drainage pond.
Robert Nicholson is a regional surveyor for the warranty provider on the housing scheme. In relation to the award Robert said: "I have been involved with Moss Bank Place since the very start of works on site. Throughout the project I have been impressed with the care and attention showed by the developer, it has been a breath of fresh air to see.
"They have viewed problems with a positive attitude, not afraid to go back to concept stage, adjust designs and then install accordingly, potentially increasing their necessary costs to improve the properties at Moss Bank Place, clearly for the final benefit of the consumer.
"Wilson & Co Properties Ltd have continually looked for ways to improve their service. The air tests and EPCs have been exceptionally good, going back to their extensive design detail again, their insulation values are between 75-100% higher than required as minimal standard. The workmanship throughout has been produced by the managements eagerness for quality, rather than being driven by profit.
"The above can be seen on site through customer satisfaction. It is great to see fantastic feedback not just from myself but from Building Control, the affordable housing team, and particularly the occupiers"
After news of being a finalist on two separate counts, and winning ‘Best Affordable New Housing Scheme’ Byron Wilson, Director of the company said: "We are truly delighted not just for us, but for all the professionals involved in this complex scheme, delivering not only much-needed open market homes and affordable homes in the locality, but homes that help local people get a step onto the property ladder, and affordable homes of quality that look aesthetically pleasing within the AONB.
"We are only a small developer but we have a clear plan for the future. All our schemes are based around quality for communities where we are building, and good sustainable relationships with local sub-contractors and local suppliers. We appreciate that delivering housing developments can offer challenges, especially making sure priority is given to building communities, as well as houses.
"Transparency and teamwork have been paramount in the delivery of this project. A great amount of effort was put into the project at pre-construction phase, both in terms of the design of the houses, and the preparation of the Construction Management Plan to identify, and design-out any issues and risks before work began on site.
"We are currently using the same strategy on our current housing development scheme at Warton Grange Close, Warton, Carnforth, and welcome any enquiries at [email protected]"