As an architectural planning company firmly rooted in Norfolk, with headquarters in Norwich, Envision CAD were seriously delighted when the city made national headlines for its new social housing estate.

We will post a link to the articles later, but if you’re uncertain what the hullabaloo is all about let us summarise:

  • Social housing provision has been shrinking for decades. If you’re over a certain age, you’ll remember Margaret Thatcher allowing social housing tenants the right to buy their rented properties. These were hugely discounted below market value and transformed a largely rental community into home owners. The problem, though, is that this housing stock that became privately owned was never replaced by councils.
  • Home ownership in Norwich is expensive. Norwich, with its suburbs, is expensive. You can pay £300,000 and more for a new build apartment in the city centre, yet wages in the city and county remain below national average. Low salaries and relatively high property prices are a difficult proposition.
  • Demand for lets in Norwich is huge. We know, from colleagues at work, friends and family, that demand exceeds supply for quality rented accommodation not just in Norwich but in outlying towns and villages too. People have to rent because they can’t raise the deposit for an averagely priced city centre property of £220,000.
  • East Anglia property prices are rising year on year. Outside the south east, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire are property price hotspots. When someone asks us to draw up plans for extensions or conversions, they know that East Anglia is a good investment area. Statistics show that.
  • Goldsmith Street in Norwich is revolutionary and award-winning. Firstly, a cursory glance at a few facts bears this out. The 105 homes have fixed rents. The design is community and environmentally focused. The roofs have lower angled tilts to allow more natural sunlight into homes and gardens. Streets are free of cars. Letterboxes are appended to porches to minimise draughts.

Above all, this development is a lesson for all councils, all planners, all developers, all architects and CAD experts.

If you want to watch and read more about Goldsmith Street, click here.

Finally, if you need advise with planning and design for commercial or residential projects, look at our case studies and then contact us