FORDHAM House, Stratford-upon-Avon, has been shortlisted for an award by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) as an example of ‘outstanding residential development.’
The annual RICS national awards include eight architectural categories which are broken down into regions. Warwickshire and the West Midlands has 25 building projects up for consideration by a panel of judges with the winners announced in May.
Fordham House was formerly a large office complex converted to housing in September 2017. Judges have described the transformation as; “82 high-quality private rented apartments, with a focused letting strategy to support local workers and residents. Each home is designed with minimum maintenance requirements and the latest in cutting edge technology. Fordham House sits on a centrally located site once occupied by a redundant office building, giving residents easy access on foot or bicycle into the town and work places. Orbit offers a 100 per cent digital service for customers through a dedicated App created just for Fordham House.”
When it opened, Fordham House was hailed as a flagship for other towns to follow because it offered affordable residential accommodation with priority given to key workers in the town such as emergency service personnel and teachers.
Last July it emerged that 67 apartments had been occupied but only four taken up by key workers.
At the time the remainder were rented on the open market which led to criticism of Orbit Housing for not fulfilling its obligation with Stratford District Council to provide affordable homes in Stratford.
Cllr Peter Moorse (Lib Dem, Hathaway Ward) was one of those who questioned the allocation of key worker homes at the time. He’s a fan of the project but unsure its concept has been so far been realised.
“It’s an excellent development but we still haven’t had an explanation as to why so few of the flats went to key workers. When the application went to the planning committee the key worker point
was emphasised, so obviously there was disappointment when we saw the figures. One point that we raised with the council was that the definition of key worker was quite narrow and the council had it in its power to widen the definition to include, for example, care workers. It will be interesting to see next year’s figures and see whether the council has taken this opportunity,” Cllr Moorse said.
L A residential development at Church Mead, Whichford, is also in the same RICS category as Fordham House. In total there are five projects on this particular shortlist.