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University looks at neighbourhood design

Nottingham Trent University’s School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment recently conducted research at a new homes development in Derbyshire to find out more about the influence design can have on homes and neighbourhoods.

The research took place with a group of residents who had recently moved in to ‘Millbrook’, a development by Davidsons Homes in Melbourne, Derbyshire. ‘Millbrook’ was chosen for the research because it was designed from the outset to fit in with the town of Melbourne and to reflect a government endorsed standard for well designed homes and neighbourhoods called ‘Building for Life’.

The residents who took part in the research said ‘Millbrook’ had a unique feel to it, mirroring the town architecturally and that it provided traditional style homes with well laid out, attractive streets and open spaces. They also said it had an established feel that made it feel part of the town. “It’s beautiful”, “Just a different type of development” were just a couple of the comments made by the residents.

Iain Pickering, Davidsons’ Head of Design said “We designed the new streets to feature village greens, wide pavements and extended pathways leading to existing town amenities. Additionally our choice of building materials are, wherever possible, matched to the buildings of Melbourne”.

Paul Collins from the School of Architecture, Design & the Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University said “This work has been really important in highlighting the value good design brings to people’s lives. At the same time, this work has increased the School’s research insights into housing design related matters and for this is very thankful to Davidsons Homes for their positive support.”

An independent assessor for the ‘Building for Life’ standard has given ‘Millbrook’ the highest rating under the scheme. More details about ‘Millbrook’ can be found at www.davidsonsgroup.co.uk and more information on Building for Life is at www.designcouncil.org.uk

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