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Image of Muir Road - Phase One of the Bellsmyre Regeneration & Masterplan

Muir Road: Phase One of the Bellsmyre Masterplan

West Dunbartonshire

Client: Caledonia Housing Association
Project Value: £9.5m (£31.5 total)
Brief: 66 zero-energy new build homes on a brownfield site; Masterplan for regeneration of the Bellsmyre estate consisting of a total of 210 units
Sustainability Initiatives: Net zero energy development, air-source heat pumps, PV panels

Muir Road forms the first stage of the Bellsmyre Regeneration Project, consisting of 210 new-build dwellings, to replace a large number of ageing blocks which could not be upgraded to pass the upcoming Scottish Government EESSH standard. Due to significant interest during the Bellsmyre consultation process, a Focus Group was established to enable proposals for each phase of the project to be developed with the residents, and ensure their comments and preferences were taken on board. Designs and layouts were then developed over the course of a number of months, with phasing in particular a major concern.

Phase 1, Muir Road, replaces 4 high-rise blocks with lower density housing requested by the existing residents during the consultation process. 44 semi-detached dwellings will be provided, with 22 flats. It will create available homes for those affected by the future stages of the project, freeing properties for demolition and redevelopment.

The Muire Road site slopes steeply to the South West offering excellent views as well as topographical challenges in terms of SUDS, prevailing winds, level-access properties, the provision of useable garden spaces and the relationship to the street. Creating a physical 3D model assisted in resolving these issues and allowed us to quickly explore public/private relationships across the site. The new homes have been developed with a focus on place making. Our key principles were to respect the existing context whilst at the same time creating a new identity and to start a dialog between traditional Scottish architecture and contemporary design. Using simple tools such as: gable end chimney features, contemporary grey brick, deep window reveals and recessed brick details we have achieved modern, simple and cost-effective design.

Central to the layout was an urban design strategy, which was embedded in the overall Bellsmyre masterplan. The main principles were: creating smaller communities that encourage neighbourliness, clearly defining private and communal spaces, creating high quality landscaped and amenity spaces and removing high maintenance ‘left over’ spaces without amenity or ecological value. Within the whole scheme we create safe streets which provide easy access for residents and better visual and physical links between Bellsmyre and the woodland – Nature Conservation Site. The houses themselves have been designed to zero-energy standard using a blend of Passivhaus and Energiesprong principles, with low-maintenance and durability a key project driver. As advised during the Design Review panel the scheme avoids the use of random colours and applies traditional, durable materials in a light, monochromatic grey shades palette.