If we were to give one piece of advice for anyone looking for a site to redevelop it would be this: find something that doesn’t look like it really fits on its street – and where there’s nothing positive about its oddness.
And that’s what our client had: a strange building with two flats in it that was probably meant to look like the Victorian houses that make up most of the street, but was fooling absolutely no one. It also had a random bit of parking space beside it that looked more like a vacant lot. And the rooms inside were bad too – the flats didn’t meet current space standards.
So the task was to provide additional housing that made the best use of an underperforming site and replace inadequate flats with ones that meet space requirements.
We certainly knew we could do a lot better than what was there at the moment. The question was: since there was a block of flats at the end of the street and flats across the street, would the council be willing to accept a block of flats here? If so, how big could we go? And what else could we bring to improve the street?
In theory, the planning process is meant to involve a meaningful collaboration between people who want to build something and the local authority. In practice, that doesn’t always happen. In this case, though, the council were actively and helpfully involved through both the pre-application and application stages.
We had started off by proposing demolishing what was there and replacing it with an entirely new building. For environmental reasons, the council felt it would be better if we could incorporate some of the shell of the existing building into the new block. As we hope any responsible architectural practice would be, we were happy to respond to that challenge and came up with a design that would reuse as much of what was there as possible while creating something better in every way.
For their part, the council were willing to accept the idea that at that end of the street, houses give way to blocks of flats. So in place of the unhappy original building that did a terrible job of pretending to be a house, we were able to create something that was unashamedly a block of flats (and a rather better-looking one than its neighbours).
The final result was that instead of the original undersized pair of two-bedroom flats, there would now be one studio, two two-beds and a three-bed, all meeting space standards.
We were also able to add some much-needed biodiversity to the plot, with a green roof, bat and bird boxes. So for humans, plants, insects and animals, this is a much better place to live than it was before.
We specialise in crafting creative design and planning strategies to unlock the hidden potential of developments, secure planning permission and deliver imaginative projects on tricky sitesWrite us a message