Involving the local community closely in improving their area has produced a transformation of the streets and a better range of housing types at Northmoor.
Improving the image of Northmoor
The decline of the Northmoor area was mainly caused by social and economic change rather than physical factors. The quality of the basic urban structure – long streets of early 20th century terraced housing – was not seriously in question.
The perception was that the area could be more legible, better connected and offer a greater range of housing choice. Certain physical problems also needed to be solved, such as security issues arising from the open rear alleys.
The Northmoor scheme aimed to promote a sense of place by creating a clear hierarchy of streets and improving the area’s wider connectivity. Selective demolition, new-build and environmental improvements to break up the terrace rows have been used to increase permeability and provide safe, well-lit routes as alternatives to rear alleyways.
Diversifying the housing offer
The first priority was to improve the range and choice of properties beyond small, two-bedroom terrace houses.
33 houses were compulsorily acquired and demolished, many of them at existing street corners. Large three-storey properties with gardens were built in their place. Pairs of two-bedroom houses were joined to create four-bedroom family houses.
These larger units have proved particularly popular with existing residents and have enlivened the streetscape.
The second phase introduced Homezones with shared-level road and pavement space.
Tree planting and a range of surface and colour changes gave defined defensible space to house frontages in place of raised pavements. The detail in each street varies according to designs agreed with residents.
Each street has a unique gateway feature which gives a clear indication to motorists that they are entering a street that prioritises pedestrians. The layout and design elements, especially the diagonal parking bays and large concrete balls, help control the traffic speeds and volume.
Improving the external environment
Other improvements include new street lighting, alley gating behind some streets and personalisation of house fronts through new metal railings, hanging baskets and planting. The fronts of properties have also been cleaned.