Kippen Dairy social housing, Alexandria
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Affordable housing in the Vale of Leven
Caledonia Housing Association and Robertson Central brought much-needed regeneration to the Vale of Leven. The development included three sites - two in Renton and one at Kippen Dairy in Alexandria.
The Vale of Leven has been one of the most deprived areas in Scotland and three local town centres were earmarked by West Dunbartonshire Council as being in urgent need of regeneration.
Kippen Dairy was a former derelict site in Alexandria and the project included 55 high-quality affordable homes, together with associated parking and landscaping as well as thoughtfully designed streetscapes and civic spaces. The new homes include 42 one and two bedroom flats, two wheelchair adapted flats and 11 two, three and four bedroom houses, all for rent. Designed to high quality standards, including enhanced energy efficiency levels, the construction of these homes signifies the beginning of a transformation of the centre of Alexandria, whilst providing much needed affordable housing in the area.
The additional two sites are located in Main Street and John Street, Renton where another mix of 31 high-quality affordable homes have also been built or refurbished making a significant difference to the area and local community.
A new route to delivery
Caledonia Housing Association led the way as the first housing association to procure through the Scape National Major Works framework. Scape Group is a public sector owned built environment specialist offering a full suite of national frameworks and innovative design solutions. This has allowed us to take a collaborative approach to the planning and delivery of this project.
A thoughtful design solution
The Kippen Dairy site was located at a key historical intersection where Bank Street and Main Street converge around the B-listed Smollett Fountain – a focal point and defining symbol of the town. The nearby buildings represented some of the few remaining examples of the original built environment of Alexandria town centre.
Robertson Civil Engineering carried out enabling works to pave the way for the development.
The site layout, developed in consultation with the local Planning Department, reflected the surrounding buildings. It integrated with existing streetscapes and preserved views to countryside scenery. Importantly, the historic Smollett Fountain provided a central backdrop to a new civic square; a community meeting space for people living and working there.
The development comprised two urban blocks, with internal courtyards designed to provide a mixture of private and semi-private spaces, with integrated car parking. Some three-storey buildings create a feature gateway and provide a strong urban scale to strategic corners of the development.
The materials used include split-faced red and grey sandstone, tinted concrete, buff facing brick and zinc, which give a modern interpretation of the immediate context, where red sandstone and slate predominate.
Robertson Specialist Division supplied and fitted concrete roof tiling.
A sustainable approach
Caledonia Housing Association wanted to comply with the Silver level of sustainability in the Technical Standards 7.1.
To achieve this, we incorporated renewable energy via integrated photovoltaic roof panels. This was combined with an orientation that maximises solar gain, high standards of insulation and window performance, thermal modelling at key junctions, air-tightness and energy-efficient heat sources.
These have created the foundation for low energy use and minimal costs for the occupants.
To achieve the required levels of treatment for run-off water from roads and roofs, SUDS was implemented with porous paviours to the parking bays and strategically located filter trenches.
A lasting legacy
Scape Group, Caledonia and Robertson all share the ambition to make sure our projects add genuine and lasting value to the communities we serve.
The current economic climate means there is a high demand for affordable housing in Alexandria and Renton. The new development not only addresses this need but the local community has benefitted from a boost in terms of job creation and economic activity with 60% of work packages being placed with local businesses within 20 miles of the sites and 86% of labour living within 20 miles of the sites.
On this project, we delivered school and college workshops, provided work experience programmes, employed new and existing apprentices and carried out educational visits on site.
The focus of this activity is to improve the employability and skills of residents, with an emphasis on young people, in an area where unemployment is an ongoing challenge.
The development was a finalist in the Homes for Scotland and the Scottish Homes awards 2016.