A multi-disciplinary team led by dutch-based Maccreanor Lavington Architects has been announced as the winner of the highly profiled Whitefield Design Competition.
The team, which included Manchester based developers R.gen and Manchester Methodist Housing Association, competed for the chance to transform the Whitefield neighbourhood in Nelson, Lancashire. As well as being an important part of the Elevate East Lancashire regeneration area, Whitefield is known for its Victorian terraces which sprang up in the 19th century to provide homes for mill workers, with stunning views of Pendle Hill and the Leeds/Liverpool canal right on their doorsteps.
The winners are now the preferred architect/developer team for the regeneration of Whitefield, subject to the signing of legal agreements at a later date. They were chosen from a shortlist of six by a jury panel which included representatives from Whitefield Community Forum, Pendle Borough Council, Elevate, Design East Lancashire (part of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment), and English Partnerships, with advice from English Heritage plus RIBA architectural adviser Maggie Mullan.
Maccreanor Lavington/R.gen's prize-winning ideas for Whitefield included proposals for:
bringing more than 100 empty houses back into use through refurbishment and imaginative conversions of two properties into one – a choice popular with residents in the area where there are many extended families
building more than 80 new homes
ensuring new and refurbished homes are green and energy-efficient with average fuel bills of less than £50 per year
providing a range of new community facilities for all of Nelson including a new community centre
a major public square as the focus of the new community
reconnecting Whitefield with the centre of Nelson, the canal and the surrounding landscape.
The winning team has pledged to work closely with residents, neighbours and partners setting up a project base in Whitefield.
Pendle Council is looking at different affordable housing options for Whitefield as part of the regeneration scheme, and is committed to working with current residents to help them stay in the area and buy into new or improved properties, as well as encouraging people living outside the area to move in. A series of meetings and presentations will take place to give people the opportunity to get involved in the design and development of the scheme.
Lord Shutt of Greetland, Chair of the Whitefield Regeneration Partnership, and the Jury Panel, said: "The selection of the Maccreanor Lavington/R.gen team was a victory for the retention of our built heritage and for conservation as well as the introduction of 21st century innovation in energy use. The openness of the team will see continued consultation and the early setting up of a community office. I am sure we now look forward to speedy progress."
Elevate's Chief Executive Max Steinberg said: "This announcement is very good news for Whitefield, and provides the best of both worlds with a solution which respects the historic value of the area but at the same time upgrades existing homes to 21st century standards.
It includes a new build scheme which blends with the traditional terraced form but which is also exciting and innovative, and emphasises high quality design and sustainability. The scheme will bring back to life this corner of Whitefield through its emphasis on opening up the canal corridor and high quality public space."
Paul Spooner, English Partnerships' Regional Director for the North West and West Midlands, said "Maccreanor Lavington/R.gen's unique heritage and community-led regeneration project has all the elements required to make a successful sustainable community.
The Whitefield project is already leading the way in innovation – in 2004 it was the first time Enquiry by Design has been applied to a Housing Market Renewal area – and this mix of remodelled terraced homes with high quality new housing and new community facilities and open spaces will continue to have a very positive impact on the area."
Maccreanor Lavington is an award-winning architectural and urban design practice based in London and Rotterdam, with experience in regeneration and the design of mixed-use neighbourhoods. It has assembled a project team renowned for leading the field in low-energy, sustainable design, and for re-invigorating urban spaces in new and exciting ways.
R.gen is a Manchester-based development and consultancy company that develops innovative regeneration schemes enabling people to enjoy the benefits of modern living in homes that are environmentally friendly.
The winning team will work in partnership with the Manchester Methodist Housing Association, one of the North West's leading registered social landlords.
Gerard Maccreanor, a partner of Maccreanor Lavington, said : "We are excited to be working in a Housing Market Renewal area, where the challenge is to breathe new life into neighbourhoods. The Whitefield area has tremendous potential and we look forward to giving existing families and the families of the future a choice of quality homes that are good for the next 100 years.
"Our proposals are in harmony with the HMR programme as our concept, like Elevate's, is a mix of interrelated activities including environmental improvements, creating exciting new green public spaces, refurbishment and remodelling of homes, and a small amount of demolition to make way for redevelopment and new build."