Tenants First wins award for Residential Development of the Year

Tenants First Housing Co-operative has been named as the winner of the Social Residential Housing Development of the Year in the Herald Property Awards 2009.

The award was for the Roanheads Village development, built on the site of a derelict fish factory in Peterhead. As the co-operative’s largest development to date, Roanheads Village has more than 50 homes designed to deliver high standards of environmental efficiency and also to create a genuine community setting.

Tenants First Housing Co-operative

Representing an investment of more than £5 million by Tenants First, the design team for the project also included Michael Gilmore Architects, Stewart Milne Construction and Stewart Milne Timber Systems

The Roanheads Village houses overlook a central square and courtyard which has been designed on the ‘Homezone’ principle. The use of cars is secondary to the needs of pedestrians. Open space, seating and landscaping create an area for the community to meet and for children to play.

“We wanted to ensure that the design and layout of Roanheads Village complemented the area and was also in keeping with Peterhead’s heritage,” explains Sandy Murray, Chief Executive of Tenants First.

“In achieving this we were influenced by the Poundbury Village in the Prince of Wales’ Duchy of Cornwall. What is striking is how the Poundbury design is reminiscent of the traditional fishing villages of North East Scotland.

“With Roanheads Village we were very clear that we wanted to create a sense of place, a development that had a focus and a relationship with the surroundings. In achieving this we had great support from officers at Aberdeenshire Council.

“We hear people talk about new housing developments as a ‘gathering of strangers’. At Roanheads we were determined to create a real community. Being a co-operative, where each of the tenants is also a member, undoubtedly helps.”

Roanheads also marks a significant step forward in Tenant First’s drive towards higher environmental standards in its developments. Having completed an award-winning pilot in Ballater of five homes that pioneered offsite construction techniques in the UK, the design team for Roanheads took this a stage further.

The houses were completed using an advanced timber frame system, that developed on Tenants First’s experience with the Ballater pilot. The construction was undertaken by Stewart Milne Construction using a closed timber panel system manufactured at Stewart Milne Timber System's Aberdeen factory.

The completed panels were delivered to the site with insulation material, doors and windows already in place. The result was factory standards of fitting and a reduction in the number of joins in the structure of the homes. In turn this resulted in higher levels of insulation, air-tightness and controlled ventilation to reclaim heat.

“At Tenants First we have a record of innovation in construction techniques aimed at improving the efficiency and quality of the homes we build for our members,” Sandy Murray points out. “Roanheads Village represents a significant step forward in that drive.

“To take that forward, we recently committed to a three-year knowledge transfer partnership, working with the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow to develop zero carbon homes.”

Tenants First is Britain’s largest housing co-operative. It has more than 1,300 properties in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus and Glasgow.

Tenants First is one of 4,753 co-operatives across the UK. Jointly they sustain more than 237,000 jobs and contribute £27.4 billion turnover to the UK economy. In the UK 10.8 million people (one in five of the population) is a member of a co-operative.

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