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Sustainable development for Newcastle’s oldest housing trust

Councillor Veronica Dunn, the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, opened a sustainable housing development designed specifically for disabled residents.
magdalene court 2

The St Mary Magdalene & Holy Jesus Trust’s £3.8mn Magdalene Court, located on a prominent site at the top of Richardson Road, is set amongst mature retained trees and has been designed by JDDK Architects. The development has been built by Meldrum Construction to meet the current National Space Standards, providing extensive circulation space for residents of the 15 accessible one-bedroom apartments designed for older people with a disability who wish to live an independent lifestyle. The development also includes three, two storey, three-bedroom homes designed for families – the first time the Trust has provided housing for families.

The innovative scheme provides highly insulated and air-tight homes with heating by air source heat pumps powering LST (Low Surface Temperature) radiators. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery ensures no heat is wasted and a steady supply of fresh air internally while Magdalene Court also features a ‘green’ roof terrace of sedum plants.

Internally, the apartments are designed for lifetime occupation with the open plan living, dining and kitchen allowing light from the living space windows and balcony through to the kitchen. The bathroom is also flexible for a bath or shower with wet room design with future adaptability. The ground floor apartments all have private patios and gardens while the upper apartments have balconies to create connection with the nature and outdoor green spaces. All the apartments are fitted with a Warden Call system summoning help if required whilst there is also an extensive ground floor store for wheelchairs and electronic buggies.

The three family homes enjoy south facing gardens with a patio and shed for cycle storage provision with rear access for added convenience of circulation. The layout also features future adaptability with accessible WC for future shower installation, an aperture for a future through-floor lift, stair lift and temporary bedspace in the ground floor living space.

John Lee, Chairman of the St Mary Magdalene & Holy Jesus Trust, commented, “The Magdalene Court scheme is an exciting development for the Trust. It both builds on what we have done successfully in the past in providing accommodation for older people, but also widens our scope to include providing accommodation for families. We consulted extensively on this scheme with partners and stakeholders and providing the mix of accommodation that we are doing will ensure that the Trust is using its assets effectively and efficiently to deliver benefit in the City.”

Despite being affordable in name, often affordable housing schemes still have fairly high rents, particularly for more popular areas. So, perhaps most importantly for our residents, we have used our funds to cap all our rents inclusive of service charges at Local Housing Allowance levels. The new apartments have been quickly snapped up and we are now continuing with an extensive refurbishment programme for our existing properties whilst also developing plans to provide additional properties on our main site on Claremont Road.”

The Trust is one of the oldest providers of housing in the UK providing housing since the two charities amalgamated in 1959, although the original St Mary Magdalene Hospital was in existence by about 1250. The Trust has strong links with the City’s Freemen and continues to provide housing and support in safe communities to older Freemen who are in need alongside other older people who are in need.



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