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SFHA Development Forum Study Trip

Blog by David Stewart, SFHA Policy Lead. 

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Yesterday the SFHA’s Development Forum went on our annual study trip to learn from best practice in new affordable housing schemes.

The theme for this year’s trip was innovation and the four schemes that visited certainly didn’t disappoint. First up was a double bill at Shettleston, where Anderson Christie had designed the award-winning Fernan Gardens, an amenity scheme for over-55s. The homes were popular with local residents, and my favourite feature was the carved sitting room that doubled up as garden furniture.

We then had a look at Carntyne Old Church, a scheme being developed to Passivhoos standards – a Scottish take on the German low energy passivhaus – which retains an important local building, the former sandstone church. John Gilbert Architects and contractor Stewart and Shields explained the benefits of the highly energy efficient scheme, with tenants paying significantly lower fuel bills.

Next stop was Knightswood, where GHA has developed amenity housing for over-55s. The big feature of the project, built by Crudens, was its district heating, providing affordable warmth to tenants who spend longer at home. The project also has attractive common areas for residents and has seen older residents move into accommodation that better suits their needs. This has the additional benefit of freeing up popular family housing that was previously under-occupied.

After lunch, we concluded the tour at Ellerslie Place, Yoker, where Sanctuary is building homes for mid-market rent. The scheme, which overlooks the landing place of the old Renfrew Ferry, uses cross-laminated timber (CLT). The project, developed by CCG, has a number of benefits – the homes use sustainable material, will be highly energy efficient and will have excellent soundproofing. The building technique has the added value of reducing time on site, with 42 units to be delivered in just 40 weeks. CLT’s strength has also allowed Sanctuary to develop a seven-storey scheme, higher that traditional timber framed development.

Overall, it was an excellent day with lots to learn from. I was struck by how the study trip showcased the way that housing associations respond to the needs of their communities by providing innovative solutions – each of the projects addressed the need to keep fuel costs down, whether through the construction of the building or through low cost heating. Each project also delivered homes that met particular needs – housing for older people – Shettleston and GHA – and homes for people unable to buy – Sanctuary. 

Finally, thanks to each of the associations for organising such an informative and enjoyable day.

If you want to find out more about our Development Forum, please email me at dstewart@sfha.co.uk