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Willow Barns celebrates Double Award Win

A Blurton retirement living scheme is celebrating after securing two building awards.

Willow Barns on Consett Road in Blurton, took the top prize in the HAPPI category at the Housing Design Awards, and the Best Social or Affordable New Development category at the Local Authority Building Control Awards (LABC) for the West Midlands.

Opening in 2016, the scheme has 75 state-of-the-art apartments. It is designed to provide independent living with a community feel for residents aged over 55, with additional care packages if required.

In the HAPPI (Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation) category at the Housing Design Awards, Willow Barns was recognised for how its design responded to the retained barn buildings, the surrounding residential neighbourhood and the significant change in level across the site.

Other design features included incorporating the original cobbled courtyard which has been linked to the new internal village street and public entrance, and its use of green spaces between the residential block, extending views in and out of the site.

In its second award win, Willow Barns won the Best Social or Affordable New Development category at the LABC West Midlands Building Excellence Awards.

The award looks for involvement of the community, external appearance and internal planning including layout and landscaping and attention to safety, security and accessibility.

Sarah Houghton-Grimshaw, Retirement Living Services Manager for Your Housing Group which operates Willow Barns, said: “We’ve always known that Willow Barns is a wonderful, high-quality place to live and these awards simply confirm this.

“It’s brilliant that the scheme has been recognised in this way. Our residents and visitors always remark on the open space, the way original barn buildings have been incorporated into a modern building, and the sense that it’s a genuinely special place to live.”

Graham Locke, Director at PRP – the architects that designed the scheme - added: “We are delighted Willow Barns has been recognised with a Housing Design Award in the prestigious HAPPI category. The scheme is the culmination of the ambition and vision of both the client and project team to create a scheme of exemplary quality with sensitive, innovative design which sets a precedent for aspirational housing for the over 55’s.”

Willow Barns was the first of three sites delivered as part of a PFI extra care housing project for the over 55s. The second, Oak Priory in Holdcroft, was also shortlisted in 3 LABC awards categories.

The total three sites have delivered 390 new apartments. The project was delivered by Sapphire, a consortium appointed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The consortium is a partnership between Your Housing Group, Eric Wright Group and Kajima Partnership Ltd.