£34 million new affordable housing development based at The Ridgeway, Hertford completes

A new residential development located at The Ridgeway, Sele Farm in Hertford, has reached completion. Architecture and building consultancy practice, AHR has transformed The Ridgeway by replacing poor-quality, ageing buildings with 120 new contemporary affordable homes within an attractive neighbourhood and successful public realm.

WaiLun Ho, director at AHR, said, “It is very satisfying seeing our new development reach completion. From the start, we recognised the site’s exciting possibilities – it offers access to Hertford and to the countryside, as well as stunning views. Our shared vision with United Living and Network Homes has enabled the development to fulfil its potential as an appealing, friendly and safe place to live. Our affordable homes are ideal for families, and their architectural character and flair instil in residents a sense of ownership, community and pride.”

David Gooch, Executive Director for Development at Network Homes, said: “We’re really pleased to have worked with AHR to deliver a truly transformational regeneration scheme of high quality homes for rent and shared ownership. Through inspirational design, the architects have transformed an estate of dark walkways and concrete staircases into a desirable neighbourhood of streets, courtyards and greenery.”

Throughout the development process, emphasis on residential engagement informed the decision to redevelop the scheme to create a place to live that would reflect the aspirations of the community. The incorporation of streets was central to both the new character of the scheme, as well as playing a key role as a counterbalance to the existing tall blocks of the existing estate, surrounded by space.

AHR also studied traditional Hertford buildings as inspiration throughout the design process, to bridge the gap between the town and suburban Sele Farm and cultivate feelings of continuity and belonging. Residences of three varying designs, ‘Villa’, ‘Courtyard’ and ‘Mews’ have been developed to introduce an individuality and intimacy to the scheme. This will allow a diverse community to flourish, as well as complimenting the surrounding context and adding to the development’s aesthetic appeal.

The houses and flats have been designed to a stellar level of quality, security and sustainability and are orientated to maximise natural daylight and views. For the facades, red brick was chosen, with areas of delicate patterning, to communicate with historic Hertford architecture. ‘Courtyard’ houses enjoy private gardens, which utilise space efficiently while providing a comfortable and secluded place to relax.

Previously obtrusive carparking has been solved with carefully-placed parking bays, and new landscaped areas between and around the residences provide pleasant, bright spaces in which to walk and socialise. Clear physical and visual routes throughout the neighbourhood facilitate navigation and strengthen resident security.

The featured range of trees and flowering plants is indigenous to promote wildlife, with bright and welcoming colour in both summer and winter, and a children’s play area will include natural elements crafted from stones and logs, as well as play equipment. Bird and bat boxes encourage biodiversity and their distinctive design adds colour to the area. An efficient waste disposal and recycling strategy, along with secure cycle storage, will aid residents in making sustainable choices.

This new development based at The Ridgeway has recently been shortlisted for the forthcoming Inside Housing Development Awards 2019 in the ‘Best Regeneration Project’ category. This is the latest of many successful AHR-designed residential schemes across the UK, with other recently-completed projects including Peterhead Court in Ealing, London, and Wallis Fields in Maidstone, Kent, which has been shortlisted for the 2019 Sunday Times British Homes Awards.