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Allerton Bywater: homes of the future?

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Designs for housing in the Millennium Community at Allerton Bywater - flagged up by government regeneration agency English Partnerships as a pioneering approach to living in the twenty-first century - went on show in the Yorkshire village last week.

Designed by Aire Design of Aire Regeneration - a joint venture between Miller Homes and Gleeson Homes - the three-day exhibition showed progress and gave residents a chance to see the designs of proposed 'prototype' houses before an application for an initial 35 dwellings is submitted to Leeds City Council later this month. The number is small, says the developer, so it can use lessons learnt on subsequent phases.

During consultation on earlier plans, residents raised several concerns, so the number of terraced houses was reduced from 459 to 317, while the number of semi-detached and detached houses was increased from 61 to 203. Doug Clelland of masterplanner and design code author Aire Design said the densities were still around 37-40 dwellings per hectare. Locals also wanted 'traditional materials' for the houses, so stone, brick, render and some timber exteriors are being shown.

The backers claim that the scheme shows 'larger houses which are cheaper to run' and which have wide frontages to catch sunlight; higher than normal ceiling heights; adaptable internal layouts for family changes; the capability for electronic links in each room; a 'pleasing appearance' with traditional materials and detailing; front porches with 'carefully designed bin stores'; rainwater collection facilities; and secure parking spaces for each house with additional space for visitors.

The masterplan shows 'green' amenity streets, residential lanes, new allotments to 'develop the tradition in the village', along with schools, a village square, family pub and hotel. Allerton Bywater is in two phases, the first of 350 houses and the second, which Aire will also do if it meets various energy pledges, of 170. It follows Greenwich Millennium Village in English Partnership's Millennium Communities regime, with the third under way at Cardroom Estate in Manchester. A lead developer for the latter will be selected shortly from Gleeson City Living, Urban Splash, London & Amsterdam, and Inpartnership.

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