Full steam ahead at Melfield Gardens

Melfield Gardens is a £12.5m design and build residential scheme for Phoenix Community Housing. Located in Lewisham, the development involves the demolition of the existing building, followed by the design and construction of 32 new homes and a community room.

Similar to other Phoenix Community Housing’s other residential developments, the project promotes cohesive community living by including an element of intergenerational housing, bringing together postgraduate students and inhabitants aged over 55 years.

Fostering Intergenerational Connections

Intergenerational housing is a vital feature of the Melfield Gardens project, aimed at finding new solutions to isolation, loneliness and other concerns for an ageing population. The development’s community garden room will serve as a place for residents to meet and socialise. Students will offer a few hours of their time each week to spend with older residents based on a ‘good neighbour agreement.’ This will help foster connections between generations, creating an atmosphere of mutual support and understanding.

Sustainable Construction

Melfield Gardens has been designed as a Passivhaus development, which is the world’s leading comfort and energy standard for buildings. The project is required to achieve Passivhaus Certification, making it an energy-efficient and sustainable space. To make this a reality, the development will feature several sustainable measures aimed at reducing the scheme’s impact on its surrounding environment.

Project Progress

When visiting site, we had a catch-up with Project Manager Michael Nevins. Michael told us: “Currently site boundaries are being installed, and we’re doing drainage and service diversions. We have groundworkers installing a soakaway system, and once that’s complete, they are also completing the pile mat construction. Piling is due to start on site on 20th February and this will be carried out over a 3-week duration. Following this, the groundworkers will start laying their foundations and putting in any extra drainage and services through site. Most significantly, our first crane is due to arrive on site mid-April.”

Community Involvement

The project has already begun to positively impact the local community. Aundre Campbell, a local Lewisham resident, has joined the team as a Welfare Cleaner, working five days a week on-site to ensure everything is kept in top shape. Aundre also hopes to one day operate an excavator!

Additionally, the project team has connected with the local Barnardo’s Building Hope Academy as part of their Social Value commitments. The centre currently hosts 14 students from NEET or care backgrounds, aged between 16 – 19, studying Level 1 Multi Skills in Construction. This includes dry lining, taping and jointing, skimming, plastering, painting, tiling and wallpapering, and obtaining their CSCS card.

Things kicked off with the student’s very own ‘groundbreaking’ event, where they learnt what exactly groundbreaking is and got to see and learn more about the site. We will also host on-site work experience placements for some students in May, with more placements to follow in the future.

The group will regularly undertake site visits and benefit from information and training sessions delivered by our staff. In addition to a financial donation, we will also contribute teaching materials from one of our subcontractors as part of this commitment.

With practical completion set to be achieved in summer 2024, Melfield Gardens is shaping up to be a vibrant and sustainable development fostering intergenerational connections and community involvement. We are excited to see it come to life and look forward to continued success on the project.