Brandon Study Area
Brandon Study Area
Project date
  • Masterplanning
  • Strategy
  • Training
North East England
Believe Housing
Associated team members
Associated documents

In 2021 URBED were commissioned by believe housing to carry out a series of workshops with the residents of Brandon. Brandon is a rural ex-mining community, which lies three miles south-west of Durham.

When URBED was appointed, believe housing were in the early stages of a masterplan focusing on the regeneration of part of the Brandon Estate, an area that consists of roughly 520 houses.. We were appointed to assist believe housing in the first stage of engaging with residents and stakeholders to create a strong partnership between believe housing and the local community.

The estate is much loved, with some of its residents living there all their lives, however it needs renewal and regeneration. In appointing us for this commission, believe housing wanted to provide an opportunity for members of the community and key stakeholders to voice their fears and concerns, but also provide a platform for exploring opportunities, and understanding the communities’ aspirations for the future of Brandon.

URBED undertook consultations over three months from August to October 2021. The process included:

  • A review of the estate and surrounding area for the consultant team to become more familiar with the location;
  • A questionnaire used to gather feedback – offered online via Survey Monkey and in printed format delivered by members of believe housing to properties within the study area and immediate surroundings;
  • A series of in-person ‘diagnosis’ and ‘dreaming’ workshops to engage the community and gather information utilising URBEDs design for change methodology.

The consultation was open to the entirety of the neighbourhood - not just residents of the estate – to ascertain how they felt about Brandon as it is now: in particular focusing on the estate area. The first workshop consisted of a walking tour with local residents, members of believe housing and local councillors, followed by a mapping workshop to build on the walking tour discussions. The second workshop, organised as a drop-in event open to all, was a continuation of the mapping exercise followed by a session in which residents were invited to share their hopes for Brandon.

Throughout the workshops themes began to arise with discussions centred around these five key aspects:

  • Safety and security
  • Housing
  • Green spaces
  • Facilities
  • Movement and connections.

All of this was brought together in a report compiled by URBED, which highlighted the potential positives and concerns around these aspects for believe housing. This was then condensed into a public facing report published and circulated by believe housing.

Following the findings of our consultation this masterplan is currently being carried forward by JDDK Architects.

The masterplan for the estate aims to deliver an innovative and contemporary development that will:

  • Address issues of outdated homes that are no longer attractive or fit for purpose
  • Utilise modern methods of construction where possible and developing technology to deliver carbon neutral homes for 2050
  • Provide wider benefits to the community of Brandon, through access to energy efficiency improvements for existing homes, training and employment opportunities and a long-lasting legacy of regeneration
  • Significantly enhance the appearance and attractiveness of the area, through high quality design, better land use, enhanced open spaces and connectivity. This aim will need to be explored in partnership with other key stakeholders, such as Durham County Council, in order to achieve the greatest impact
  • Attract new residents, diversifying and growing the local community.

It was a pleasure for us to be working with believe housing and the residents of Brandon. We are looking forward to seeing how the plans for future changes and improvements develop.

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