A thriving Chinese population in the Tees Valley area and a lack of residential housing for a growing elderly population has provided an opportunity for the Teesside office of international project managers and cost consultants, Faithful+Gould to provide expertise on a social housing scheme with a difference.
Working with the region's leading independent housing association, Tees Valley Housing Group (TVHG), Faithful+Gould will provide client representative, quantity surveying and planning supervisor on the first project of its kind in the Tees Valley area.
Located in St John’s Gate, Middlesbrough, Phase I of the development has seen the construction of a four storey residential block, with a capacity to house 62 people. Much needed residential accommodation to the elderly Chinese population, two of the smaller properties are wheelchair adapted and a further four flats are able to accommodate up to four persons. The project has experienced enormous demand with all flats being let to elderly Chinese residents.
Phase II of the development will see Faithful+Gould providing a client representative role on an adjacent community centre development expected to commence in June 2005. A further retail development comprising a Chinese supermarket and restaurant is also planned as the third and final stage of the development.
The consultants won the commission as part of a framework agreement and have been involved on the Chinese Elders development from its conception in 2003.
The roots of the development were initiated by a survey undertaken by Banks of the Wear, an independent consultancy working in the field of housing, regeneration and social issues, on behalf on TVHG. Their findings showed a distinct lack of housing available to the elderly Chinese population which was exacerbated by a lack of a China Town community in the area.
A full and open consultation programme was then held with the Chinese Association in the North East which determined the design of the development which boasts features such as curved roof eves and intricate internal details to provide a 'Chinese' theme.
Speaking about the project, director Gary Marshall said: "Faithful+Gould has a strong history of providing specialist expertise on social housing schemes. We are delighted to be working with Tees Valley Housing Group on this development which will provide a much needed facility to the Chinese community in the Tees Valley area. We expect Phase II to be completed early 2006."
With wide ranging expertise in property development, housing management and community regeneration, TVHG offers supported housing as well as homes in the semi-commercial and market rent sectors.
Martin Hawthorne, director of development services from Tees Valley Housing said, "The survey findings showed us that the elderly Chinese community can experience some isolation and have the potential to feel vulnerable. We felt it important to provide a space in which they feel safe and are very much part of a thriving community."