Bingley’s Fern House triumphs in national awards

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The Abbeyfield Society’s Fern House development in Bingley has scooped the residential category at the 2018 Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards Grand Final, officially making it one of the UK’s finest developments.

ITV News Anchor, Nina Hossain, hosted the sell-out glittering ceremony in London. Shortlisted against 10 other residential developments from around the UK, the scheme was awarded the accolade with judges praising how Fern House had integrated into the surrounding area and community.  The development entered the RICS Grand Final after being named as the best new residential development at the RICS Yorkshire & Humber Awards earlier this year.

The 84,000 square foot development was built on the site of the former Bingley Hospital.  It now provides 49 affordable one and two bedroom extra-care apartments and 30 affordable en-suite dementia care rooms, and is a result of collaborative working between architects Brewster Bye, Bardsley Construction, Quantity Surveyors BWA (Europe) and the full design team.  The scheme was supported with £6.4m of private funding from Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank Group and £2.34m of public investment from Homes England. Work completed in June 2017 at a total cost of £14.8m.

The facility is managed by Abbeyfield The Dales and having been operational for over to twelve months now, Fern House is not only home to over 80 residents but has proven itself as a thriving community hub that both residents and members of local community enjoy.

Abdul A Ravat, The Abbeyfield Society’s Head of Development explained: “When the national judges from RICS visited the scheme they experienced at first hand that the residents enjoyed living in their new homes and the care and companionship that was provided by Abbeyfield The Dales only served to enhance the success of the development.”

There are also a growing number of local volunteers that support a range of activities and provide companionship to enrich the lives of the residents. The seven storey building was designed to respect and complement neighbouring properties with the use of strong gable forms and contemporary detailing.

Through its extensive communal areas including a restaurant, lounge, hair and beauty salon, assisted spa bathrooms, shop and a hobbies room set around a dramatic four storey atrium, the building provides space to congregate and encourages residents at the scheme to remain connected to their community.

Richard Virr, The Abbeyfield Society’s Director of Development, said: “Winning this award is truly a special moment for the Abbeyfield Family. The building is the culmination of many years of hard work from all parties involved and now provides residents with state-of-the-art surroundings to call their home.”

Mark Henderson, Director & Senior Technician at Brewster Bye Architects, which designed Fern House, said: “Fern House is an exceptional development that offers an extremely dynamic, modern and light living environment, with superb facilities for its residents. The whole development is designed to feel welcoming and it fosters an inspirational atmosphere which has made it a highly sought-after place to live, as well as setting a new benchmark in terms of quality and specification for extra care and dementia centres.  We’re extremely proud to win this prestigious award which is a huge achievement for everyone involved in the project.”

Karen Anderson, Specialist (Home Ownership & Supply) of Homes England said: “We are committed to working with partners who understand the needs of their local community and are striving to build the homes that people want, that help them to live independently, where they want to live. Fern House scheme is an excellent example of what can be achieved working in partnership and offers residents high quality, well designed and affordable accommodation with the benefit of beautiful outdoor spaces, a real community focus and support to meet peoples’ varying needs and tackle isolation. All of us at Homes England are delighted to see it recognised with such a prestigious award.”

Fern House had also scooped the ‘Best Social or Affordable New Housing Development’ at the regional LABC Building Excellence Awards in June 2018.  It is pitched against 11 other entries for the LABC Grant Final later this month in London.