Sir Len Fenwick, trustee of the St Mary Magdalene & Holy Jesus Trust, has laid the naming plaque at the Trust’s Magdalene Court development in Spital Tongues, Newcastle.

Construction of the £3.8m sustainable housing scheme, designed by award-winning JDDK Architects, is being undertaken by Meldrum Construction with completion expected next Summer.

The development included the demolition of three blocks of 1960’s apartments at the top of Richardson Road, deemed no longer fit for purpose, and their replacement by three, two storey, three bedroom homes for families and one block of 15 accessible one bedroom apartments for older people who live an independent lifestyle. Designed for people with a disability and providing housing targeted at older people, Magdalene Court will also include a limited number of family houses – the first time the Trust has provided housing for families.

The Trust is one of the oldest providers of housing in the UK providing housing since the two charities amalgamated in 1959, although the original St Mary Magdalene Hospital was in existence by about 1250. Originally set up to look after relatives of the City’s Freemen, the Trust continues to provide housing for older Freemen who are in need and also now provides housing in safe communities for other older people who are in need.

John Lee, Chairman of the St Mary Magdalene & Holy Jesus Trust, commented, “The Magdalene Court scheme is an exciting development for the Trust. It both builds on what we have done successfully in the past in providing accommodation for older people, but also widens our scope to include providing accommodation for families. We consulted extensively on this scheme with partners and stakeholders and providing the mix of accommodation that we are doing will ensure that the Trust is using its assets effectively and efficiently to deliver benefit in the City.”

Dave Meldrum of the Meldrum Group said, “We have been working in partnership with the Mary Magdalene & Holy Jesus Trust on an innovative framework of continuous improvement and upgrades to its existing homes over the last two years and are delighted to deliver further value for the Trust with this unique development.“

JDDK Director, Kevin Turnbull, added, “The scheme provides a sustainable development using a ‘fabric first‘ approach which will create highly insulated homes with heating by air source heat pumps powering LST (Low Surface Temperature) radiators. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery ensures no heat is wasted and a steady supply of fresh air internally.”

“Internally, the apartments are designed for lifetime occupation with the open plan living, dining and kitchen creating a less claustrophobic feel by allowing light from the living space windows and balcony through to the kitchen. The bathroom is also flexible for a bath or shower with wet room design with future adaptability. The ground floor units will have a private patios and gardens while the upper units will have balconies to create connection with the nature and outdoor green spaces.”

The three family homes enjoy south facing gardens with a patio and shed for cycle storage provision with rear access for added convenience of circulation. The layout also features future adaptability through Lifetime Homes Standards with accessible WC for future shower adaptability, an aperture for a future through-floor lift, stair lift and temporary bedspace in the ground floor living space.

The building materials palette has been carefully chosen to blend with the existing surrounding properties whilst externally, existing trees will be retained and a new communal garden for residents will be created.

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