Symonds Close

Featuring 12 affordable Lifetime Homes Standard dwelllings, this scheme marks a new era of housing provision for Winchester City Council. Symonds Close is shortlisted for the 2017 Structural Timber Awards.

About this project

This project provides 12 new build houses for Winchester City Council's New Homes Delivery Team. The Council had not built any new housing stock in the last 25 years, relying only on provision from Registered Social Landlords. In 2013 the council began a programme of assessing all the land they currently own to seek opportunities to develop new council housing for affordable rent to those on the local housing need lists. T2 architects were appointed to assess the development potential of an underused recreation ground and garage court on land to the rear of existing council properties. The initial capacity studies demonstrated that the site could accommodate between 8 and 14 new dwelling units’ dependent upon size and type.

A thorough programme of research was undertaken by the council to assess the specific housing need in the area so that the Architect’s brief could be confirmed. The result of this exercise was that there was a need for some small one and two-bedroom properties for downsizers, to encourage elderly tenants currently under occupying larger three and four-bedroom family homes to move out to free these up for families. At the same time, the need for additional new family housing was also high. As such the required housing mix was confirmed as follows;

  • 2no. 1-bedroom bungalows with a sleepover room within the roof for a carer.
  • 3no. 2-bedroom (4 person) houses, 1 of which has been specially adapted for a family with a severely disabled son.
  • 6no. 3-bedroom (5 person) family houses
  • 1no. 4-bedroom (7 person) house

Use of Timber

Timber frame was selected primarily because of the high levels of air tightness that can be achieved over other construction methods, along with the speed of construction. The use of a timber frame solution helped the scheme to easily achieve the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 for energy usage. This will mean low energy consumption and in turn benefit the Council’s tenants with lower energy bills.

The use of a timber frame solution has resulted in very few load bearing walls internally which means the dwellings have a high degree of flexibility for future internal adaptations. This is especially relevant to this project as a proportion of the dwellings have been designed to accommodate downsizers who tend to be older tenants who are more likely to need adaptions in the future to meet their needs. Each dwelling meets Lifetime Homes standards.

The scheme is shortlisted for the 2017 Structural Timber Awards.

  • Architect: T2 Architects
  • Client: Winchester City Council
  • Employer's Agent: Baqus
  • Main Contractor: FE Chase Ltd
  • Structural Engineer: Mayhew Callum Ltd

Key contacts


T2 Architects 


Winchester City Council 

Main contractor

FE Chase Ltd 

Structural engineer

Mayhew Callum

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