Ardfern is an area of great beauty leading to high levels of second home ownership which in 2001 comprised over a quarter of houses. Argyll & Bute Council approached us over the issue of many people living in caravans with a variety of issues such as fire safety and extensions with no planning consent. We used participatory appraisal techniques to build rapport with a community that was concerned about speaking to us and the authorities as they had no security of tenure. We quickly built strong local networks that helped us gain credibility and used robust but informal surveying techniques to overcome initial hostility. We found a community that was young and vibrant, sustaining local schools, maintaining the voluntary fire service, providing care services to older home-owners (including incoming retirees) and running a number of local and often environmentally friendly businesses.
West End Multi-storeys
Despite being surrounded by the highly popular, local authority built area of Knightswood (where it is probably easier to buy rather than rent a house now), the West End Multis are stigmatised multi–story blocks. Working with a multi-disciplinary team lead by Towler & Hyslop, we established that these properties formed a crucial part of the local housing market and that, despite their lack of popularity and cost to maintain, it would be very difficult for their owner, the Glasgow Housing Association to demolish all of these blocks. Community consultation, again using participatory appraisal techniques to make grass roots contacts, established that the Asylum Seeker Housing contract brought many responsible family oriented tenants to the area but that community safety was a major problem. The GHA are currently considering the team’s proposals to make these flats more family friendly and local community organisations have asked Ann Flint & Associates to come back under a separate contract to the area to help with group development.
Lying on the edge of Wishaw, the Gowkthrapple housing estate was failing to thrive despite considerable investment by North Lanarkshire Council and its predecessor authority. Our close work with the community showed the most significant issues to be population decline in the wider area, over provision of flatted accommodation and changing tenure aspirations, coupled with stigmatisation and environmental concern about the power lines that cross the site and ground contamination on the site of an old clock factory nearby. Since the completion of the study, the Council has demolished a number of blocks in the area and the local housing co-operative is working with developers to provide a mix of new housing. A Masterplan for the area is now being progressed to identify future land use and infrastructure requirements, including remediation of the contaminated land. This case study illustrates how the future of housing schemes can be dictated by factors beyond the local authority's control and how increasing concern over environmental issues could change the face of our towns in future.
Thenew Housing Association
Ann Flint & Associates were called in to review the future of 2 small tenant management co-operatives that had been set up by the then Scottish Special Housing Association and then transferred to Thenew Housing Association as part of wider stock transfer in the East End of Glasgow. Mary Malcolmson quickly built rapport with the management committees and established that the co-operative structure was not fitting in well with the decentralised area management structure that the housing association was developing. Marjorie Cuthbert, a regular associate consultant, rapidly reviewed current processes and procedures and made recommendations that would enhance the working relationship between the co-ops and the housing association. The tenant management co-ops have now been brought into the area management structure
Private housing leaflets for Edinburgh City Council
Edinburgh City Council are developing a comprehensive and innovative strategy for improving private housing conditions in their council area. They recognised that the Tenements (Scotland) Act would have significant implications for home owners in their area, perhaps more so than in other parts of Scotland. Ann Flint was called in as part of the John Gilbert Architects team to prepare an information leaflet to be sent out to every flat owner in Edinburgh. Duich Mackay, a communications and graphic design specialist working for John Gilbert Architects established a strong graphic identity for the leaflet based on technical information provided by Ann Flint. The Council established that further information was required for private home owners and Ann Flint was subsequently asked to produce further leaflets for flat owners on practical maintenance issues.