Design review to support design development of new housing so that it is well integrated with recent edge of settlement housing. Creating clear visual connections and a strong street and public space network with a strong relationship to a new park: a shared amenity for new and existing housing.
The Review Process - The project was brought to the panel by Barratt David Wilson Homes as part of their aspiration to realise ‘perfect delivery’ and achieve planning permissions with no conditions. The review process takes place in two stages. The first review by a multi-disciplinary panel of four was preceded by a site visit. This review was exploratory focusing on strategic design principles. The current views of the Local Authority were invited and worked with in discussion so that the design team could take away consistent and current advice.
The Site and Outline Design - The site is surrounded by a network of existing low density housing. It is in two parts; one to be retained as a park and another to be developed for new housing. The location offered challenges for the design team; in establishing strong connections and maximising benefit for new and existing residents. The outline design proposed an outer street linked by a ladder of streets with a focal public square. At the centre of the new development, the square was aligned to long westerly views across the park into the countryside.
The Panel’s Recommendations - The panel thought the layout could be developed to make a clearer sequence of spaces from the main point of arrival and to increase the impact of the proposed public square. They recommended further definition of the street hierarchy and a more specific approach to character. They also made suggestions about improving the interface between the park and new development. They were supportive of the approach to parking that was well integrated with street trees used to frame parking.
Design Development - The design team engaged thoughtfully in the process recording iterations of the design in the final Design and Access Statement. The layout was made more legible and with stronger use of the main site assets of; the park, the public space and westerly views. The street hierarchy was given greater variation. A clearly defined public space was created on the threshold to the new development. The park edge was developed and the public square moved to maximise its impact. The approach to character was developed and a related materials palate was proposed.
“The process was a positive experience that tested the fundamental design principles without imposing specific ideas, providing useful feedback on a range of design issues.”
Steve Hawkins, PLACE By Design