Best Housing Development

15th January 2020 | posted in News

Railway Housing Association has won development of the year in the 2019 Chartered Institute of Housing Northern Housing Awards.

Our development off Haughton Road – known as The Sidings - won the title of Best Housing Development at the recent Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Northern Housing awards.

The 73-home affordable housing scheme, which was officially opened in summer 2019, consists of two and three-bedroom houses, two-bedroom bungalows and one-bedroom apartments. The centrepiece of the development is a listed railway engine shed which was sympathetically converted into seven mews-type homes.

Judges at the CIH awards praised the way we had incorporated the engine shed into the overall design and for how the development met the needs of a wider cross section of the community

Anne Rowlands, Chief Executive of Railway Housing Association, said: “The CIH Northern Housing Awards are a pinnacle in the sector, so we’re delighted that our scheme was named the best in the north of England.

“2019 was the 100th year of Railway Housing Association, so we couldn’t think of a better way to end our centenary year than by winning an award for a scheme so closely linked to our railway heritage.”

The conversion of the engine shed alongside the east coast mainline was also shortlisted by the National Railway Heritage Awards, which took place in London on 4th December and was attended by The Princess Royal.

Whilst we didn't win, one of the judges who visited the development described it as “an excellent example of conserving a truly historic building through imaginative re-use”.

John Young added: “The 1844 engine shed designed by GT Andrews is a rare survivor but was increasingly at risk through lack of maintenance, dereliction and vandalism.

“Good use has been made of the shell of the building while retaining many original features and the project represents an imaginative and constructive use of an historic building. This is an enterprising entry worthy of formal recognition.”

Another judge, Mike Ashworth who visited the development on a separate occasion, added: “This is an impressive scheme, bringing a structure of significance in a true railway town back to a new life that is sustainable and maintainable. There is much to commend.”

Anne Rowlands added: “We’re delighted that the work undertaken to restore the engine shed was recognised by the National Railway Heritage Awards.

“We had to come up with a design, working alongside the planning authority, Friends of the 1825 Darlington & Stockton Railway and English Heritage that would sympathetically restore the building and bring it back into use as housing.

“We managed to retain many original features and whilst the pavilion roof had to be replaced, the new one is an exact replica of how it looked back in 1844.

“This is completely different to the CIH award, so to even be short-listed was an amazing achievement."

The engine shed originally housed railway engines operated by the Great North of England Railway. In 2008, despite becoming a target for vandals over the years, it was granted Grade II listed status, with English Heritage saying: “it is a rare surviving example of a first generation railway engine shed and it is highly significant for the evolution of early railway building design”.


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