A housing development in Ashford comprising two affordable homes suitable for wheelchair users has won a coveted construction award and been described as a ‘blueprint for accessible housing’.
A delegation from Ashford Borough Council’s housing team were among 300 industry professionals attending the LABC South East Building Excellence Awards in Brighton – and ended up scooping the Best Social or Affordable New Housing Development award.
Noakes Meadow in South Ashford was shortlisted in a strong category which included a number of housing schemes across the region.
Occupational therapists who viewed the semi-detached property during its construction had commented that it should be the blueprint for the type of bespoke wheelchair-standard accommodation that ought to be built across the country.
The property at Noakes Meadow has square rooms with a wide hallway in which turning circles are possible in a powerchair. The wet room is accessed via two very wide doorways and the wooden flooring throughout enables use with a standing aid, something that is not possible on carpet.
Sections of the internal walls could be removed to enable a hoist to be fitted in the property in due course, should it be required one to still enjoy the home.
In the kitchen, the worktop heights can be adjusted to enable cooking and washing up. All cupboards are also fully accessible. The smaller paved garden is also wheelchair friendly.
The Noakes Meadow project team honoured at the annual awards included Ashford Borough Council, contractors DCB (Kent) Ltd, RDA Consulting Architects (Kent) Ltd, and Pellings LLP.
As regional winners, the authority now heads to London in November to compete in the national awards final.
Cllr Bill Barrett, Ashford Borough Council portfolio holder for housing, attended the Brighton ceremony.
He said: “If there is one project which truly promotes the idea of ‘building excellence’, it is Noakes Meadow. I believe that the accessibility offered there is in a different league to what is offered elsewhere. The council is proud of the part it has played in delivering home which has significantly enhanced the way in which the couple now live their lives.
“No longer is it appropriate to provide homes in isolation. We must consider issues such as social mobility and the increasingly important healthcare agenda, to ensure that our homes and our plans are fit for purpose.
“At Ashford, we do things differently. We recognise that sometimes improved outcomes for vulnerable people can be derived by working closely with other organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
“Noakes Meadow is an example of the excellent partnership working fostered by Ashford Borough Council. By including all stakeholders at all times, this project has been made possible and to know that it is making a real difference means it’s a job well done.”