Symonds Close, Winchester

  • Name of scheme: Symonds, Close: Winchester
  • Nominated by Winchester City Council
  • Shortlisted category: Housing 

Symonds Close, Winchester is shortlisted for a Civic Voice Design Award for its demonstration of high quality design in a council housing scheme.

Winchester City Council commissioned T2 Architects to design a scheme for the site, including family homes and smaller homes suitable for downsizers. A planning application was made in June 2014 for 12 new council homes and permission granted August 2014. The project started on site in April 2015 and completed on 22 June 2016.

The design team and Council officers undertook a series of consultation events with the local community. A focus group with potential downsizers helped shape the design and layout of the smaller homes. A community drop-in event at the initial design stage to which the wider community were invited, informed the overall design of the scheme and the individual dwellings. This was followed up with a leaflet drop distributed to a wide area explaining how comments had been incorporated and inviting residents to look at the plans online or at a display in the local community centre.

The community also contributed to decisions regarding improvements to other open spaces in the area to mitigate for the loss of the open space for the new housing. The team ran a workshop with pupils from the local secondary school to gain their views on the type of improvements teenagers would like. This was followed up with two further events with the wider community to finalise the proposals for improvements. Improvements were subsequently made by the Council to two open spaces in the area. An ‘outside gym’ and new benches were installed at Dean Park, whilst a trim trail was built around the edge of St Matthews Field.

The dwellings are designed to high quality standards to reflect the Council’s demanding requirements. All the homes are designed to meet lifetime homes criteria which allow them to be easily adapted to enable a resident to remain in their home as their mobility needs change. The development has been very successfully designed by T2 Architects to make excellent use of space. The site was formerly a garage site and an underused area of open space, which the local community reported felt closed in and uninviting. The garages were in poor condition with some vacancies. The design of the homes and materials used, together with the creation of a communal green with seating and a ‘play street’ have created an inviting place with a sense of community.

The crisp, modern design and the use of a buff brick, slate roof and small blocks of colour on the houses, together with the paved play street and communal green help to create a place which is light and airy.

You can read the full shortlist here.