UK "Flexible Homes" Get The Go Ahead

The latest in modern living is set to arrive in Milton Keynes as outline planning consent for the country’s first "flexible" homes got the go ahead. Milton Keynes Partnership announced the news as it also received detailed planning consent for work to start on roads and other services to support the new homes. Tattenhoe Park is the last grid square in the west of the city to be developed and will provide over 1,300 new homes, many of which will be designed for maximum flexibility, making them adaptable to the changing needs of residents.

Jane Hamilton, Chief Operating Officer of Milton Keynes Partnership said, “Tattenhoe Park represents another exciting first for Milton Keynes through its "flexible" homes that will allow people and families to easily adapt their homes to meet their changing needs over time. Its high quality townscape will contain a variety of spaces and neighbourhoods that are well connected and easy to navigate with roads and safe, accessible pedestrian and cycle links in a landscaped setting.”

The infrastructure works will ensure that essential services such as roads and a school are in place before housing is developed. Expected to start on site in January 2007, phase 1 will create the new internal road system including a new High Street that will run from Snelshall West in the south of the site through to Kingsmead in the north and will also form the public transport link. Work will also be done on the footways, redways and on an eco friendly drainage system that manages excess surface water with minimal impact on people and the environment.

Thirty per cent of Tattenhoe Park’s homes will be affordable. The "flexible" homes will be built with future extension or adaptation in mind and could include features such as open plan layouts or rooms with partition walls that can be easily removed or re-positioned. The homes will sit alongside other "standard" housing types on the 59ha site and will account for at least 30 per cent of the total number of homes. Other amenities include a local centre with 2000 sq.m of space for shops and business, a new primary school, a small hotel and a public house. There will also be space for community and recreation facilities including play areas, playing fields and allotments.

The new High Street will link three public squares - Gateway Square leading into the development, Central Square where the school and local centre will be located and Green Square, the location for the proposed hotel and public house.

Both national regeneration agency English Partnerships and Milton Keynes Partnership Committee have endorsed taking Tattenhoe Park forward as a national exemplar for "flexible" housing. Jane Hamilton continued, “We are currently working on a technical assessment of "flexible" housing and would be happy to release draft details of this to interested architects and developers who might wish to contribute their views at this early stage.”

The infrastructure works will be completed in stages so that the school site can be handed over to Milton Keynes Council in summer 2007 to enable the school to be open for the autumn 2008 term. A tender for the first phase of housing should be released in spring 2007 and the scheme is expected to be completed in 2012.

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