• 2010-03-16 - Newhall - Robert Halfon

    New to Newhall - but already smitten


    Robert Halfon, prospective Conservative MP for Harlow, is one of Newhall's newest residents, but has already fallen in love with the place and all that it stands for. Rob, and his partner Vanda, moved to Newhall in November last year, and his enthusiasm for their new home is boundless. "I love it. It's the best house I've ever had in my life. It's so unusual, so clean and open."


    Like many other Newhall residents, Rob and Vanda made an instant decision when they first laid eyes on their new house. "The moment we saw it, we wanted it," he recalls. As a Harlow and Roydon resident for many years, a Roydon Parish Councillor, and a passionate supporter of many important local causes such as housing, education, health and business, Rob of course was well aware of Newhall and the objectives of its founders, Jon and William Moen. "I think the Moen brothers are visionary. They have created something that really is like a village, but for the 21st century. It is unlike anything else around."


    Now that Rob and Vanda are settling in, he is able to experience at first hand the benefits of this cutting edge development. Many of its ideals chime with Rob's own, particularly those relating to the environment and community.  "I care deeply about the environment, sustainability and the countryside," he says, so Newhall's green spaces, areas of trees and inclusive ethos have special appeal for him. "Everything's done with great care at Newhall: the square, the trees, even the naming of the roads. It is a wonderful place to live."


    Rob's involvement with the town of Harlow is many faceted. He campaigns regularly about issues such as anti-social behaviour, policing and traffic congestion, and works with volunteers, councillors and charities to solve local problems. Despite the problems, his affection for Harlow is evident. "It is an excellent town in which to live. It has heritage, great shops, the countryside around it, and a good community spirit. I am proud to be a parliamentary candidate for it."


    2/ New to Newhall - but already smitten


    In many ways he sees Newhall as encompassing all that is positive about Harlow; the semi-rural setting, community life, unique modern architecture, peaceful atmosphere, the care and pride its residents take in it. But as well as all this, it is also home, and as Rob says; "It's so wonderful to come back to at the end of the day."


    There is a wide choice of ultra contemporary homes currently available at Newhall. All are designed by award winning architects, and Newhall as a whole is highly unusual, offering innovative modern architecture, and a relaxed green lifestyle in a real community. Amenities such as schools, shops and a restaurant are in the pipeline, and will help to establish Newhall further as one of Harlow's most desirable neighbourhoods.


    For further information please call the Sales Centre on 01279 416660 or visit www.northchase.co.uk



  • 2010-03-01 - Newhall - Self Build, George Hadley.




    George Hadley is about to achieve a long-held ambition. The 40-year old accountant is set to embark on a self-build family home at the award-winning Newhall development in Harlow, Essex.


    George, his wife Jo and two daughters, Jessica (7) and Katie (5) have lived in Waltham Abbey for the last 12 years, but this year they will be moving to a spacious new home designed specifically for them.


    George explains: "I've been thinking about building my own house for eight or nine years now. It started when I saw a couple of self-build magazines, and then bought a book on the subject. But when we had our first child, life was turned upside down for a while and the build was put on the back burner. But in the last year and a half, now the kids are a bit older and life is slightly easier, I started looking into it again."


    Once the search for a suitable plot was underway, it didn't take long before the Hadleys were attracted to Newhall, a unique and groundbreaking concept in residential development where the landowners commissioned a masterplan for the whole scheme, and then invited a variety of architects to design the different phases of development. The masterplan draws on lessons learnt from much-admired historic towns, creating a new place that is, above all else, wonderful to live in. Well-designed self-build homes are welcomed as a complementary alternative to the award-winning contemporary architecture for which the development is renowned.


    "I read an article in The Times about the self-build options at Newhall, and then when I was looking for plots in the Essex area on the internet, the Newhall sites came up again. So we researched the whole Newhall development some more, and my wife and I went up there to have a look. We had a really good feeling about the place, right from the start. The layout was excellent, it was well maintained, there's lots of green and communal space and a really wide variety of house types compared with a typical new-build development. Some of the house designs up there are fantastic - it's all very different, but you can see that there is a good build quality throughout," says George.


    The couple quickly put in an offer on a plot, which was accepted, and the long-dreamed of project became a reality. Even though the recession was at its worst, George was determined to press on, and with good reason. The average self-build home is around 30% cheaper than buying from a developer.


    When it came to choosing a design, fate - in the form of the Newhall community intervened. George says: "On our second visit to see the plot, a man approached us from a house a couple of plots along, and he turned out to be an architect named Alastair Howe. He lives in his own self-built home at Newhall and had already drawn up some plans for our plot, but the sale had fallen through due to the buyer's circumstances changing. We got on well with Alastair and worked with him on our own design. There are some guidelines and restrictions as to what you can build at Newhall and for our plot they were looking at what they called a two-and-a-half storey house, so the northern part of the house is three storeys, and the southern end is two storeys. This is to emphasise the street corner location of the plot.


    "So we had to work within a framework, but Alastair was aware of what the planners were looking for, and guided us through it. We combined that with our vision of what we wanted, we've got white render walls with black windows, for a black and white effect. Alastair has also helped us to maximise the space we could get from working within the set framework, by asking us lots of questions about how we would actually be using the house," he continued.


    The resulting design will soon be transformed into a 170 square metre family home with dual aspect windows in nearly every room. The upstairs areas will contain three bedrooms, a playroom with balcony overlooking the wonderful green space and two bathrooms, while downstairs there will be a living area, dining room, kitchen, utility room and conservatory.


    "We're hoping to move in by the end of September," says George. "The house will have a timber frame construction so should be a relatively quick build, and I'm confident we can stick to our timescale. I'm really looking forward to the build stage now. It will be great to see the frame finally going up after all these years of thinking about it."


    One of the reasons the Hadleys warmed so quickly to Newhall is the sense of community that the development encourages. "We looked at the masterplan before we made an offer, and it was very exciting to see what is going to happen, especially with the restaurant and community centre etc. It's a wonderful vision and we're getting in to the community spirit already - there are a couple of events over Easter, including an egg hunt which we're going to take the girls to. In a lot of communities people don't even know their neighbours, but I think Newhall is really trying to promote a sense of community."


    The infrastructure and transport links are another important factor. George says: "My journey into the City will be good. Harlow Mill and Harlow Town stations are only two and three miles away respectively from the house, and the train time is just over 30 minutes into Liverpool Street, which is where I work. And once we get the house built and move in, we'll start looking for a local school for the girls, who are both at primary school."


    For those looking for a 'ready built' house, the latest phase with properties currently available is North Chase.  Further information can be obtained by calling the Sales Centre on 01279 416660 or by visiting the website at www.northchase.co.uk



  • 2009-07-01 - Design for Homes - The Housing Design Awards 2009, Project Winner.

    The feted Newhall development in Harlow has struggled with slow production arising from some of its design complexity. A detailed code to unify some 3500 homes promotes local colours and crafts and an earlier scheme by these same architects included thatchers (Abode, Housing Design Awards 2004). The experience led the practice to rThe result is a rare example of market sale volumetric housebuilding on a greenfield site. It utilises the Futureform Building System, a monocoque steel construction. Modules arrive on site sealed and weather tight with a full internal fit-out. They are then stacked, roofed in clay tiles and faced in classic Essex white render before prefabricated porches, canopies and balconies complete the exterior elevations.ethink delivery of the code's aspiration for local materials and modern The aim is to allow customers to specify extensive internal variations in bathroom and kitchen fit-outs, but still have the homes ready at about 16 weeks from reservation. A prototype interior was unveiled in Spring 2007 and the architects invested in their concept, becoming a JV developer with Renascent Developments Ltd for the 78 homes.

    Launched as 'slo' (Simple Living Opportunities), the acronym soon reflected the market. A method of accelerating customisation to achieve a time-frame demanded by eager purchasers, found the market mired in anxiety and 16 weeks looking like a reckless dash. Part of the scheme has been pre-let to Moat, one of Harlow's affordable development partners. The rest grinds on and judges chose to reclassify the half-finished scheme as a Project.

     The houses deserve much better luck. The narrow 2-bed terrace houses draw daylight into their middle with an open plan and the stair at the centre, allowing light to pass either side. A lightwell over the kitchen also naturally illuminates the bathroom above, diffused through an opaque glass wall

    Courtyard houses at 107.5 m2 exploit the steel-frame to span expanses of fenestration at ground floor level, connecting living space with outdoors. A screened, covered outdoor area can be used to park bicycles and buggies and provides an outdoor 'room', adding to the sense of space to stretch out. Homes were all designed to be on average 5 m2 larger than standards introduced by English Partnerships in 2007, while construction trounces Building Regulations, achieving thermal efficiency only expected from changes due in 2013.