Residents of the Grade II Listed Byker Wall Estate will soon be consulted on environmental improvement designs for their neighbourhood following the announcement by the Byker Community Trust (BCT) of a £4m environmental upgrade project which will be led by Newcastle-based JDDK Architects.

The project, which completes the delivery of the official stock transfer investment promises, from when the Estate was transferred from Newcastle City Council to BCT, forms part of BCT’s investment programme which has committed over £31m funding to date. The project will be delivered in partnership with BCT, JDDK Architects, and Todd Milburn Partnership and an extensive period of consultation with residents is expected to start in February 2019.

Jill Haley, Chief Executive of BCT, commented: “We’ve appointed JDDK Architects after a comprehensive tendering process that saw six shortlisted design teams invited to submit tender proposals including recommendations for a pilot area which reflected the environmental challenges Byker faces. The six design teams were given the opportunity to meet a Steering Group of Byker residents who were able to give invaluable insight on the environmental issues affecting the Estate and their preferred options to resolve these. JDDK’s experience in consultation exercises and their understanding of the Grade II Listed Estate were obviously important factors in their appointment and we look forward to working closely with them on the design and implementation of this exciting project”.

Steve Sheraton, a BCT tenant, said, “I am excited to be one of the tenants involved in the steering group. When redeveloping Byker in the 1980s, Ralph Erskine and his design team involved residents in the scheme designs. I am delighted to see this legacy continued by BCT and to be given a chance to provide our views on environmental changes in our neighbourhood. So far, the work with JDDK Architects and BCT has been positive and I am looking forward to my continued involvement with the steering group and help shape our Byker.”

Nicky Watson, Director of JDDK Architects, added, “We’re obviously delighted to have been appointed and to be returning to work in the Byker Estate, an environment we’re very familiar with having worked on the refurbishment of some of the original ‘Hobby Rooms’ into modern living spaces in 2015. In addition, Gerry Kemp, consultant to our Landscape Architect partners, Glenkemp Ltd, actually worked with Ralph Erskine on the original scheme in the late 1970’s and was one of the co-authors of “A Byker Future”. The Conservation Plan for the Byker Redevelopment.”

“Our designs for the pilot area, which we developed after consulting with the tenants’ Steering Group, concentrate on the external landscaping, providing options for cohesive fencing to gardens, communal bin stores to accommodate new larger bins, the creation of more private streets, new wildflower areas, new boundary hedges and tree planting, new seating and play areas and the creation of hard landscaped areas as communal meeting places. The designs also include refurbishing steps with handrails and buggy ramps and the increase of parking provision closer to dwellings.“

The project will now proceed to large scale consultation with residents of the Estate and other stakeholders before final designs are agreed and submitted for planning and listed building consent.

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