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Hemingway calls for family-friendly apartment design

Fashion guru and urban designer Wayne Hemingway has delivered a warning to the developer behind a Watkins Gray International-designed scheme in the North East - saying it must deliver apartments that will house families as well as professionals.

Hemingway's comments followed the unveiling of the Gateshead scheme, backed by Kier Property, near to Hemingway's own Staiths South Bank project on one of the few sites left on Gateshead's riverside.

The designer said he was impressed with the Watkins Gray scheme, but added that the developer needed to think hard about the space it is using, as developers in general in the UK are not filling the requirements for families living in high-density locations.

'It's a wonderful location,' Hemingway said. 'Gateshead currently has the march on Newcastle and this scheme looks like it will fit the bill for the site.

'It's a regeneration scheme that looks a lot like the one I live in, when in Perth, Australia. Britain has an awful lot to learn from Australia,' he added.

Hemingway's apartment in Australia, he said, is in a high-density location, similar to those proposed in Gateshead, but has enough space for his wife and four children.

He continued: 'If the developer can provide that on this Gateshead scheme, and not just one and two-bedroom apartments, then it will be a very successful project.

'You have to have the space you can bring kids up in, and I've yet to see that anywhere in the UK. I'd love a developer to show me one, but I don't think they can.'

by Richard Vaughan

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