Clump Field Ipswich Affordable Housing Architecture Portfolio

Urban Housing at Code 4

In 2007 Ipswich Borough Council identified a series of six sites it owned in the Borough which were suitable for development for 100% affordable housing. We were asked by Orwell Housing Association to join them as architects in their tender for the development of these sites. The proposals, which comprise 62 homes in total, have been developed in consultation with Ipswich Borough Homes and the IBC Housing Enabling officer. A number of the sites are already under construction and the completed dwellings will be let through a partnership between Ipswich Borough Council and Orwell Housing Association.

  • Photo of Clump Field, Ipswich
  • Photo of Clump Field, Ipswich
  • Photo of Clump Field, Ipswich

Orwell Housing Association
18 houses and 18 flats on an urban brownfield site
Capital Value:
Code Level:
Level 4 Code for Sustainable Homes, Building for Life 15 Points
May 2010
Employers Agent - Downey & Warren, Code Assessor - MP Building Assessors, Structural Engineer - J P Chick, CDM Coordinator - JPC CDM Services
Suffolk Association of Architects Design Award 2011, Civic Trust Awards – Regional Shortlist 2011, Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) Silver Award 2011, The Ipswich Society Awards – Commendation 2010

On this site – the largest of the group, is a development of 36 units for rental and shared ownership. The site is very steep with many retained trees, our task has been to maximise the development potential within these constraints. The scheme is designed as a self contained community with a HomeZone approach to traffic management. The project also includes the upgrading of a nearby playpark.

Homes are timber frame with brick, render and untreated European larch cladding. The development, which uses Exhaust Air Heat Pumps, achieved Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and scored 14 points in Building for Life.

A comprehensive approach

The project was conceived as a Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 development, and this became a condition of planning consent. This early decision enabled the design team to develop a comprehensive approach to delivering the CO2 and energy reductions required by the Code.

The new homes were constructed using highly sustainable off-site manufactured timber frames, which were delivered to site and craned into position. This process produces less CO2 in manufacture and also helped to reduce the overall construction programme.

The protection of biodiversity was an important aspect of the project and whilst there were no protected trees on the site the existing trees were afforded heavy duty protection during the demolition and construction works. An extensive programme of replanting and landscaping was undertaken. To encourage further improvements in biodiversity the contractor partnered Suffolk Wildlife Trust and installed bird and bat boxes to create additional suitable habitats.

Materials and Waste

Located on a steeply sloping site with an existing building, the project could have created a substantial amount of spoil and cart away. Instead all soil was retained on the site and the demolition products were reused in the new building.

Recycled hardcore was used for aggregates in the foundations and as part of the floor construction. All timber supplied was from a sustainable source and a proven chain of custody. Insulation was of the zero ODP type. All facade and most of the internal materials are key green guide rated. Imitation slate roof tiles were chosen in preference to the natural material. The Siberian larch cladding is fitted without treatments and will not need treatments during its lifetime (again from a sustainable source). All paint was water based.

Inclusive Design Details and Accessibility for all users

The project is designed to Lifetime Homes Standards which ensures the homes are accessible, inclusive and have built in flexibility.

Conformity with Lifetime Homes Standards addresses all aspects of the building design from car parking and access and approach, through entrance, circulation and living areas. Spaces are designed to incorporate accessibility measures in future such as a stair or through the floor lift or a home office. The homes are thereby designed to adapt to whole life living.

The site is ideal for affordable housing, being located close to schools, play park, local shopping and public transport within an existing residential area. Travel between these areas has been enhanced by the open home zone design and the creation of new paths which take precedence over the streets and car parking, which is well integrated into the scheme. Public spaces and pedestrian routes are overlooked and feel safe. The project received a Secured by Design Award.

The mix of accommodation was determined as part of a needs survey and includes four larger homes (4 and 5 bed houses) as well as a combination of 3 bed houses and 2 bed flats. A combination of rental and shared ownership also contributes towards a diverse mix of tenants living at Clump Field. Environmental features including a Home Zone approach to parking, retention of existing trees and wildlife initiatives, together with the high quality of the sustainable homes help reduce the environmental impact of the project.

Home Zone and Landscaping

Clump Field is designed as a self contained community with a Home Zone approach to traffic management. All dwellings have their own car parking but cars do not dominate; a series of small areas of parking serve neighbouring dwellings, supported by a system of hard and soft landscaping and street furniture. The design takes care to create good relationships between the new homes and existing and new landscaping; this is complimented by a high quality internal and external finish.

A view from the Playground

Before development the site was occupied by a derelict former care home which was extensively vandalised and fenced off. The new development opens up safe pedestrian links between the shopping areas and bus stops to the East with a refurbished play park, attractive woodland and further housing to the west.

Key elements of this tight site were the topography and mature trees. The site drops around 8m over 40m and the housing is overlooked from the main road; the roofscape was to be an important aesthetic feature.

The architects' task was to provide a high level of good quality accommodation on what is a completely self-contained site. The buildings are largely 3-storey to keep the footprint as small as practicable. Whilst the site is by necessity inward looking, it was important to maximise daylight to the homes, minimise overlooking and make the most of views where they were available.

A series of monopitch and flat roofs break up the mass of the buildings and reduce their perceived size. Large windows maximise views where they exist yet are positioned so as to eliminate overlooking. A variety of natural and naturally coloured materials are used to further break down the facades, giving the community a special character.

Opening Ceremony

The development was opened by tenants Mr and Mrs Hunt and newly elected Ipswich MP Ben Gummer. Representatives of the developer client, Orwell Housing Association, the contractor client ISG Jackson were present along with members of the design team.

Kelly Biddle of Orwell Housing Association writes: "Prior to this development, the site consisted of a derelict residential home that had sat empty for many years. The site was a haven for anti-social behaviour that caused the neighbouring residents many concerns over the years.

“The new development at Clump Field has not only transformed this area in terms of aesthetics, but has provided 36 stunning new homes for local people to live in. The feedback from our tenants has always been positive, and they are now forming a residents committee to help further strengthen the community involvement at Clump Field.”