Gateshead scheme wins planning approval regardless of watchdog’s ‘significant reservations’

Ikea’s plans for a UK flatpack homes development have been slated by Cabe’s design review panel.

In a scathing report the design watchdog criticised the quality of the layout and the design of the affordable housing scheme in Gateshead, north-east England.

The report, from a session at the end of last month, said: “There is little evidence that this scheme fits into a vision for the wider area … We also have significant reservations about the site layout and house designs.

“In conclusion, we feel that since our previous concerns remain relevant, we are not able to offer our support for the scheme.”

Yet despite Cabe’s comments Gateshead council granted outline planning permission for the homes last week.

Councillor David Napier, cabinet member for housing, said “The homes are cleverly designed, energy efficient and look fantastic, so there won’t be a shortage of buyers.”

The prefabricated homes, which are aimed at first-time buyers, are being developed in partnership with Live Smart@Home, the private sale division of north-eastern housing association Home Group.

The project is the first in the UK to use the Swedish BoKlok range of timber-framed houses and flats.

Alan Prole, managing director of Live Smart @ Home, said: “We’re creating pocket parks, homezones and communal areas, all with the intention of giving resident that communal feeling. It’s just a shame that despite being invited, Cabe did not contribute to this consultation process.”

Flats are expected to cost £100,000 and a three-bedroom house will go for £150,000.

Work is expected to start on site in June, with the first block of six flats completed by the end of the year.