We are very proud of the Staiths, its 5 or so years since CABE (The Commission For Architecture and The Built Environment) slammed the masterplan… they love the Staiths now, make study visits and use it in their publications, here are some of our thoughts.
The overall design, visual appearance of The Staiths is uplifting every time we visit… the subtle colour palette, the material mix, the roofscape are all “wearing well”, in The Arts Council Publication “The Power of The Barbecue” design comes high up the agenda with residents.
The development is becoming wonderfully verdent, is there a “greener” looking development that’s this “young”? It proves the importance of planting decent plants at the outset, residents and potential customers are always commenting positively on this aspect of The Staiths.
The “Homezone” appears to be working. The streets are not dominated by the car, people use the tables and seating in the streets. Sales are lost though by having restrictions on multiple car ownership and it is definitely reducing the number of families who buy.
The decision to not have wheelie bins has been vindicated,the whole development looks tidier and by and large the bin stores work.
The play areas, whilst not being as adventurous as we would have liked, do add to the “outdoorsy” feel and add to the liveliness of the streetscape BUT they do attract naughty kids from outside The Staiths who “threaten” the locals, a difficult societal problem to solve, we have a great relationship with Gateshead Council and are working on solutions.
The housing and landscape design is evolving as we enter the final phases and this adds to the serendipity.
Whilst there are a number of niggling issues like ugly gas box positioning, and ugly alarm boxes the value of the design team remaining with the project, regularly visting site and not just relying on leaving drawings is having a positive effect.
The constant thinking of what extra can we do is leading to some great initiatives, there is free wireless broadband available on the “prom” in front of The Staiths timber scheduled monument and we have introduced a free bike club, 10 free bikes for residents. These initiatives as well as being a community benefit keep the Staiths in the local press and are a real positive benefit to sales.
The residents are desperate for their first shop to open a number want to run it, but George Wimpey are having great success using it as a sales centre we all can’t wait till they occupy a new sales centre in phases 4/5.
The management of The Staiths leaves a lot to be desired (oh how we hate these external management companies) litter picks and weeding doesn’t happen enough and many repairs and maintainance issues seem to drag on, but its great to see the residents establishing a residents forum and start to talk about taking over from the management company go on and do it!
Thank you Gateshead Council for taking such a pro active role and constant interest in The Staiths.
Having a housebuilder that is proud of a development has been invaluable while we are on the “thank you’s”, thank you George Wimpey!
The communal barbeques should have been gas, they would get used more.
It is possible to make good money for housebuilders and make better places to live, design and profit are not mutually exclusive, look at the land values being achived at The Staiths.
This is an ongoing list so feel free to email us…