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Plans by Newcastle architects Pod for a contemporary £1.6m rural social housing project have been completed as the first residents start to move into their new homes.

Working collaboratively with the developer and the local planning authority, Pod has acted as the lead consultant, steering the Oswin Grove scheme in Gilling West, Richmond through a two-year planning process.

This involved project managing the build phase of 11 two and three bedroomed properties to provide affordable housing for local people.

The scheme has been designed as part of an initiative to ensure rural communities remain sustainable for local people. Occupants of the new properties have completed eligibility testing, ensuring that they either live in the village, or work in the surrounding area, while also complying with financial criteria.

The news is the culmination of four years of work by the Toffee Factory-based architects for not-for-profit housing association, Broadacres Housing, which manages thousands of homes across North Yorkshire.

Homes England, the Government body responsible for delivering new homes, has also provided a £352,000 grant to help fund the scheme.

An essential part of the design was to eliminate flooding, so Pod has worked closely with engineering firm BGP, to develop a scheme that essentially raised the site, forming a network of drainage solutions under the ground line.

Pod’s vision for the site has seen homes built in a conservation area from natural stone and copper cladding around a central courtyard to create contemporary style properties. Residents have their own gardens and onsite parking as well as access to a gazebo area, which features a BBQ, seating and play spaces to create a sense of community.

Working as part of a collaborative design team to address the scheme’s aims have been paramount in bringing the plans to fruition, said Pod’s project architect and director Adam Lee.

He added: “Working with the local planning authority from the outset and developing strong relationships, has been invaluable in project managing the design and build of homes that display a unique character.

“As architects, we want to create schemes that provide a lasting legacy. Our design set within a rural location, showcases our ability to create a sense of place and community, from concept through to delivery.”

Gail Teasdale, Broadacres chief executive, said: “Working with Pod and other partners, has enabled us to provide much-needed affordable homes for local people, responding to their wishes. We have delivered a scheme which adds great value to the village and local community.”

Pod was established by Craig and Ruth Van Bedaf in 2007 and provides a range of architectural and design services. It currently employs 12 staff at its office in the Toffee Factory, Newcastle, and undertakes residential work, primarily with large regional housebuilders across the North of England. These include national housebuilders Bellway and Storey Homes, as well as Northumberland Estates.

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