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Forge Bank, Halton, Lancaster

Client: Lancaster Co-Housing

Location: Halton

Cost: Undisclosed

Area: 2.5 ha

Project Type: Community

Lancaster Co-Housing’s aspiration is to create an intergenerational community centred on social interaction and ecological values. As such the scheme places public realm at its heart as a platform for neighbourly interaction; facilitating the communal functions of the community and social sustainability of the overall development. The practice was appointed to undertake the external design detail and delivery for this carbon positive mixed-use development in a highly sensitive location on the banks of the River Lune. The development involved the re-use of former industrial forge and mill buildings for residential use, green start-up businesses and a communal recycling centre. A key challenge was also to mitigate potential flood risk seamlessly within the scheme and embed opportunities for ecological colonisation as well as human interaction.

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The scheme sought to deliver zero car ownership through the use of a shared car pool, enabling a public realm entirely given over to pedestrians. Central to the strategy was the reuse of materials found on site, the achievement of a sensitive, place focused progression from woodland and river through to housing, and providing opportunities for shared living and the human (as well as ecological) colonisation of the public realm. The result is a development that has an overarching sense of neighbourhood. Now completed with 100% occupancy the scheme is considered an exemplar across the region.