Lea Way, York

Acanthus WSM were approached by the Joseph Rowntree Trust to develop a brownfield site in Huntington, to the north of York. The brief was to create a small hamlet of contemporary design that appeared truly tenure blind. At just 13 units there was an almost even spread between affordable rent, shared ownership and outright sale. There was significant local opposition to the proposed development and an extensive consultation process was undertaken. CGI modelling was undertaken to illustrate the appearance of the scheme to allay local resident concern.


A key design feature was that the houses would be energy efficient, cheap for residents to run and be flexible to meet the changing needs of families living there. The dwellings were therefore all designed to comply with Lifetime Homes, Homes and Communities Design and Quality Standards and Secured by Design. In addition they were built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 adopting a ‘three phase’ strategy of high performance building fabric, excellent levels of air tightness and micro renewables.


Priority has been given to pedestrians with an informal, ‘meandering’ shared surface and well defined street frontages. Front garden areas and boundary treatments further reflect this with hedges utilised rather than hard lines of railings and walls.


The design concept relies on the traditional domestic styling of punched windows, pitched roofs and locally sourced materials. The selective introduction of feature cladding panels, together with the creative use of brick, render and Juliet balconies, giving a contemporary design aesthetic. Building orientation and roof design facilitate solar collection whilst generous living spaces are provided with large windows maximising daylight and natural ventilation.