Limelight will pave the way for a new approach to housing for the elderly and community health and wellbeing services
Construction of a landmark new community health and wellbeing hub has been completed in the heart of Old Trafford.
Limelight is one of the first developments of its kind to integrate housing for older people with primary care and council and community services.
Designed by PRP Architects, the development forms part of Trafford Housing Trust’s (THT) vision to regenerate the area by integrating 81 extra care apartments into a single building also housing a GP surgery and associated health facilities.
There is also space for the delivery of council services, as well as a library, social enterprise space, a community café, flexible event spaces, a 40-place children’s nursery, and sports and recreational facilities alongside the relocation of St Brides Church to the site.
We were keen to engage with the community from the outset, seeking their views on what they thought was needed and using these to inform the emerging designs which we showcased in a series of consultation events
Limelight is one of the first integrated care hubs to be delivered in the UK and is a model for future age-friendly developments, which place older people at the heart of their community.
The concept of a multi-use building started in 2007 when THT commissioned a masterplan for Old Trafford to evaluate existing housing stock and integrate new built forms into established neighbourhoods.
The report highlighted the need for community facilities as the central focus of nine projects, and the site on Shrewsbury Street was selected for its accessibility and the diversity of the neighbourhoods which surround it.
Graham Locke, director at PRP, said: “We were keen to engage with the community from the outset, seeking their views on what they thought was needed and using these to inform the emerging designs which we showcased in a series of consultation events.
“This enabled the community to be involved throughout each stage of the design development and helped to deliver a building which reflected their aspirations.
The building was designed by PRP with input from a range of stakeholders
“We consulted local schools, colleges and local residents to discuss the proposals and, where possible, we took their feedback on board and incorporated it into the evolving design right up to the planning submission.
“The local community’s sense of ownership of the facilities is evident through the number of centre volunteers who help meet the users’ wishes and suggestions and maintain the now-thriving hub.”
When designing the scheme, PRP and THT were aware, that for Limelight to become an enduring asset for the area, the building needed to be strongly influenced by the local community, existing service providers, and key local stakeholders, both in terms of the initial design and also the way in which it could be used and adapted to ensure it meets the area’s ever-changing aspirations.
This commitment to ensuring the development met its various stakeholder and user requirements, resulted in THT employing a number of community champions who lived locally and who they continued to engage with beyond planning approval.
The champions had a direct influence on areas such as the detailed landscaping proposals, interior design, public art, as well as the building’s daily management, with many now sitting on a board of trustees for the development to provide a direct link between the community and THT.
The local community’s sense of ownership of the facilities is evident through the number of centre volunteers who help meet the users’ wishes and suggestions and maintain the now-thriving hub
PRP designed the scheme to integrate with the surrounding neighbourhood with the built form retaining the existing historic Victorian street pattern where it remained and re-establishing it in places where post-war development had caused it, in part, to be lost.
The built form and landscaping approach helped to redefine the strong urban grain based on the creation of three new streets; a residential street which responds to the local vernacular; a community street, including a new public square; and a third 'wellbeing' street which links to the wider recreational playing fields.
The architectural character of each built form changes to reflect its specific context and use. Shrewsbury Street has adopted an architectural rhythm which responds to the traditional terraced housing opposite, while St Brides Way presents a civic quality that reflects the new public building opposite and creates a distinctive new gateway into the area.
This approach has successfully enhanced the wider neighbourhood and, while it is a much larger building than its neighbours; attention to scale, form, proportion, detailing and the use of materials allow it to sit comfortably within its primarily residential context.
There are a number of amenity areas around the development; a hard-landscaped civic space between Limelight and the new church, which serves as a piazza during the summer allowing the café and church to open out onto the street.
There is also a landscaped buffer around the building which includes a children’s play area and community gardens, creating a different setting to each of the building frontages, and a landscaped courtyard located at the heart of the development at first-floor podium level which provides the principal amenity space for extra care residents.