AK Bell, a noted philanthropist, established the charitable Gannochy Trust in 1937. He constructed the original housing estate in 1923, a project described by Neville Chamberlain, as 'unique in character and the best I have seen'. It continues to provide high quality housing at mid-market rents
To celebrate the Trust's 75th anniversary we prepared a community-led masterplan integrating new and existing housing and greenspace to provide a strategic framework for long-term development. A housing needs survey highlighted an older population living in hard to adapt family homes or stand-alone sheltered housing (around 60% of households were over 55) and fewer young families. To address this imbalance, the new housing neighbourhood is designed to support an intergenerational community which nurtures a sense of 'ageing well' a sociable community which offers residents an environment which is empowering, accessible, inclusive and safe.
Our research with Scottish academics suggested that getting outside is a significant factor for older people's mobility and can be an important predictor of health, so we have designed an environment that makes it easy and enjoyable to go outdoors.
Different degrees of sociability have been built into outdoor spaces - from private gardens, through shared greenspaces to community gardens and orchards. All new homes incorporate a sheltered, south facing 'sitouterie' which are well used by residents.
The existing Gannochy estate has a distinctive character which has been achieved through thoughtful design and a carefully maintained, high quality landscape setting. It was therefore extremely important that the new development becomes an evolution of the existing estate and retains the design ideas behind the original model village. The original orientation and 'plot based' settlement pattern has been retained and updated to include spaces which encourage sociability. There are visual connections to the wider Gannochy Estate through new greenspaces, and larger homes intended for families with a disabled family member, act as landmarks to aid in way-finding through the new neighbourhood.
New homes have generous front gardens , in the same way as the original Gannochy housing, and share the same distinctive hipped roofs and simple massing and proportions as their predecessors.