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Case Study: Castlefields Estate Regeneration

Name of organisation: Plus Dane Group

Stage of development: in progress

Year of finalization: 2013

Type of project: construction

Area: suburban

Scale: neighbourhood

Type of building: Apartment in a block of five or less stories;
group of terraced houses

Number of units/dwellings: 397

Tenure: social rental;
shared ownership/cohousing

Street: Castlefields Estate

Postcode: L1 9EF

City: Runcorn

Region/ County: Cheshire

Country: United Kingdom

Last Update: 02.12.2009

Project Management Ventilation Other Renewables

Short Description

Plus dane group is a major partner in the Castlefields Regeneration Masterplan. The estate was originally developed as a ‘new town’ between 1968 and 1972. The design included concrete deck access flats and aerial walkways. Popular in its early days, by the mid-1990s the area was suffering multiple deprivations and was in the top 1% of most deprived wards nationally.

The Castlefields Regeneration Masterplan was commissioned in 2004. This ten-year plan co-ordinates over 50 projects and involves numerous partners. The plan aims to build a sustainable community, with improved environmental, economic and social well-being. The development is supported by strategies to improve the public realm, lakeside and green space at Castlefields, an extensive community involvement strategy and public art programme.

Achieving the highest possible standards of design and development, Castlefields features in the HCA’s Urban Design Compendium:
Over 800 deck access flats have since been demolished and over 500 new homes built, 294 of these by plus dane group – providing a range of attractive homes for rent and low-cost home ownership. With funding from HCA and plus dane group, this is a £30m development programme.

Key Elements


- Passive ventilation.

Other Renewables

- All timber used in the frame construction and cement particle boards is from sustainable sources;

- 85% of all other materials are from sustainable sources.


Project Management

- Space 4 closed panel timber-frame construction;

- Modern Methods of Construction.


Main Results

As the regeneration of Castlefields is a long-term ongoing project, we have not identified any specific outcomes in terms of energy saving or carbon emission reductions. There have been clear social and economic benefits derived from the work that has been completed to date and future work in the area will seek to demonstrate the tangible benefits delivered by the large scale regeneration work.

Lessons learned

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) and Lean Construction

MMC is a key principle across plus dane group’s extensive development programme. Adopting Lean Construction on the fourth phase at Castlefields has delivered further gains in efficiency, reducing timescales and making cost savings. Headline results include:


- 4% reduction in Caesar’s Close programme (budget stage to contract start), achieving a £30,204 saving in preliminary costs;

- 9% reduction in Village Square phase 1 programme (budget stage to contract start), achieving a £58,207 saving in preliminary costs;

- Total unit cost reduced by 2.81%;

- Timber frame costs steadily reducing, with an overall reduction of 16% over the last four phases – demonstrating the benefit of a long-term supply chain partnership;

- Estimated that MMC was already achieving a reduction in waste generated through each phase in excess of 50%, including 25% fewer site deliveries and 50% less site vehicle movements. To date, Lean has delivered a further 7% reduction in site waste;

- The combination of MMC and Lean has also delivered a 50% reduction in noise levels.

Additional Information

The Castlefields Regeneration project has received a great deal of attention in the sector and general media. It has won a number of awards to date:


- 2006 UK Housing Awards: Winner Excellence in Delivering Regeneration for Waterbridge Mews;

- 2006 Daily Post & Echo Regional Property Awards: Winner Best Partnership Project for Waterbridge Mews;

- 2007 RENEW Exemplar Learning Status;

- 2009 finalist Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Awards, Best Housing 11 Units or More for Caesar’s Close;

- 2009 finalist NW Regional Construction Awards, Business Award for Lean Construction project;

- 2009 finalist HCA Academy Awards, Leadership of Place.