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02.05.19

Leading architects propose a distinctively local approach to solving the housing crisis

New report responds to government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful agenda by showcasing successful examples of suburban and rural housing development.

The housing industry must focus on providing home buyers with greater choice and diversity, creating carefully considered neighbourhoods that are rooted in their local context, a new report by four of the UK’s leading architects has argued.

The report, Distinctively Local, responds directly and positively to the government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, and Housing Minister Kit Malthouse’s recent challenge to architects to help achieve Britain’s ambitious housing targets by ‘’building the homes the next generation deserves’’.

Focusing on new suburban and rural housing, the report sets a clear challenge to the government and housing industry: in order to boost housing supply and create beautiful homes in popular and successful neighbourhoods, new developments must be rooted in their local context and offer greater choice to consumers.

Amid growing pressure to adopt standardised production methods in order to double supply in a period of acute labour shortage and rising construction costs, Distinctively Local aims to inform and inspire those who may be planning, designing, delivering or hoping to inhabit new developments, including the latest generation of garden towns and villages.

In particular, it illustrates key aspects of design, aiming to show in more detail ‘what good looks like’. The report also provides guidance and case studies that show how to create genuinely distinctive and popular places.

Lord Taylor of Goss Moor said: “This report illustrates that the tradition of ‘great homes and great placemaking’ has not been lost. The challenge is to rediscover the belief in doing it right more often, and understand the thinking that goes into this - and fire the imagination and will to do more.”

Produced by HTA Design, Pollard Thomas Edwards, PRP, and Proctor & Matthews, Distinctively Local supports and complements Sir Oliver Letwin’s Independent Review of Build Out Rates (October 2018) and the RIBA’s response, published in the same month, The Ten Primary Characteristics of Places Where People Want to Live.

As well as explaining the importance of local distinctiveness, it sets out the essential components for building this distinctive sense of place and quality:

  • Creating places that respond to their context
  • Designing people-friendly streets and open spaces
  • Crafting modern houses, which feel like home
  • Offering choice and diversity to buyers and renters of new homes

Simon Bayliss, managing director of HTA Design, said: “We welcome the government’s focus on quality, but successful housebuilding and placemaking involves much more than a simple stylistic preference. Designing and building homes that respond to local context can be more thoughtful than architectural style alone. If we can look beyond this then we can start to foster a positive perception of new developments, which can in turn make the planning process a smoother journey. This will have a real impact in boosting housing supply.”

Andrew Beharrell, senior partner at Pollard Thomas Edwards, said: ‘’How can we make great places, rooted in their context and offering choice to consumers, when there is growing pressure to adopt standardised production – and to double supply in a period of acute labour shortage and rising construction costs? Our report Distinctively Local shows that it is possible to square these circles.’’

Stephen Proctor, founding director of Proctor & Matthews, said: “Being ‘distinctively local’ requires a thorough understanding of context, which defines a sense of place and creates a strong identity for new residential neighbourhoods. An exploration of local and regional characteristics such as distinct topography, vernacular building forms and the texture and grain of surrounding settlements, can assist in anchoring new developments within their specific contexts.”

Ben Williamson, associate director at PRP, commented: “As we strive to deliver more homes, we must look beyond the number of individual dwellings built to the need of creating sustainable, connected and vibrant new communities. Community life exists outside the home in our streets, parks and open spaces. These spaces must be designed with care to ensure new homes can become part of sustainable new neighbourhoods that stand the test of time.”

Download the digital version

06.03.19

Five pioneering low carbon housing projects secured for Building for 2050 research

Five pioneering low carbon housing projects have signed up to be part of the Building for 2050 research project, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The project, launched today at the Futurebuild conference in London, will help shape future UK policy on delivering low carbon homes in England and Wales.

The project will review different ways of delivering low cost, low carbon homes and monitor their performance in use. The research team will work closely with the case study teams to understand the designs and any issues encountered and they will engage with residents to capture their views. This experience will inform ways to increase the widespread construction and uptake of low carbon homes in England and Wales by 2050.

The five housing developments comprise:

Active Homes in Neath, S Wales: a small development of 16 social rent homes by housing association Pobl Group. They are designed as mini power stations using battery technology, heat pumps and solar PV to generate around 80% of the energy they consume and slash tenants’ energy bills by at least 50%;

Rayne Park, Norwich is the largest low-energy ‘passivhaus’ development in the UK - and one of the largest in Europe, brought forward by Norwich Regeneration. The scheme will see 112 of the 172 new homes certified to the passivhaus standard. The homes will benefit from 70 per cent reduction in heating bills;

ETOPIA Homes, Corby is a scheme of 47 modular homes that are equipped with energy saving technology - a combined solar photovoltaic and thermal panel, heat pump, inter-seasonal storage and smart home equipment - to deliver a net zero carbon standard on site;

Marmalade Lane, Cambridge is a custom-built cohousing community. Made up of 42 custom build homes complemented by first-class shared facilities, Marmalade Lane has been designed with a fabric-first approach delivered with offsite manufactured closed timber panels supplied by Swedish builder Trivselhus, combined with heat pumps to supply heating and hot water;

Leyton Road comprises a mix of 50 new affordable and private flats and houses. The development, delivered under the London plan policy for low carbon homes, is the first to use a large-scale communal Air Source Heat Pump feeding an ambient temperature heat network and individual heat pumps, together with solar photovoltaic panels to provide a predicted 57% reduction in carbon emissions on site.

Building for 2050 is being managed by an AECOM-led research team, drawing on AECOM’s technical and social research expertise, and includes architects, Pollard Thomas Edwards; Building Performance Experts, Fourwalls and low carbon technology specialist, Delta-ee.

Alison Crompton, Regional Director, Sustainability – Building + Places, AECOM, said: “Signing up these five pioneering projects for our research is an important step towards future proofing new homes, paving the way for every new house in England and Wales to be low carbon and energy efficient. From early design right through to occupation, we’ll be combining technical and building performance reviews with social research to identify both the barriers and drivers of building low carbon new homes at scale.”

The team will capture the experiences of those directly involved with the five low carbon housing developments - reviewing the designs and observing construction activities; assessing the performance of sample dwellings; and determining the performance of selected dwellings in use over a year monitoring period.

There is a significant social research element and the team will identify the views of funders, developers, and design teams - those actively involved in low carbon housing and those currently not. Views from contractors and site-based staff building low carbon homes will also be collected. In addition, the attitudes and expectations of a sample of residents will be identified prior to them moving in to the five developments, followed by feedback once they have moved in and again once they have spent some months in their new homes. To provide context, views will be sought from wider stakeholders – both professionals and consumers. Observations from the design and construction stages, analysis of the performance at completion and over one year in use will inform the steps required to accelerate the uptake of low cost low carbon homes.

24.11.18

PTE featured in The Daily Telegraph

We at PTE, are delighted by the coverage of our practice in The Daily Telegraph on 24 November.

Missed it? Read it online.

12.10.18

Woodside Square wins Best Urban Design award at Haringey Design Awards

We are delighted that Woodside Square, our development for Hanover Housing Association and Hill has won the Best Urban Design award at Haringey’s Design Awards.

Formerly St Luke’s hospital, Woodside Square provides apartments for the over fifties in new garden villas alongside restored heritage buildings, grand new family houses and affordable family homes.

Congratulations to the whole team.

22.09.18

Record number of visitors to Diespeker during Open House

We would like to thank the 300 plus people that visited our office on Saturday September 22 for Open House. Thanks also for the many lovely comments about our building and work.

24.08.18

Two Third Age schemes by PTE have been shortlisted for this year’s Inside Housing Awards

PTE is delighted that two of its Third Age schemes have been shortlisted for the Inside Housing Design Awards (IHDA).

Colby Lodge, 20 generously sized one‐bedroom flats in Walthamstow, has been shortlisted for the highly prestigious Best Older People’s Housing category.

The new affordable housing scheme is set in a picturesque garden for Walthamstow’s oldest charity, Walthamstow & Chingford Almshouse Charity, founded in 1527, and recently featured on BBC national news in an item about how to keep cool in the heatwave.

Centenary Lodge, which comprises 34 new homes in Aldershot for vulnerable and disabled veterans, set in a woodland garden, has been shortlisted for the Best Affordable Housing Development. The client is Stoll, founded during the First World War by theatrical impresario Sir Oswald Stoll.

IHDA celebrates innovative and inspiring developments, and making the shortlist is a recognition of the very best new build and retrofit projects in housing. The winners will be announced on the 29 November 2018. Best of luck to both PTE schemes.

24.08.18

Woodside Square shortlisted for the 2018 Building Awards’ Housing Project of the Year

Woodside Square, an outstanding piece of suburban placemaking in Muswell Hill, London, has been shortlisted for the 2018 Building Awards’ Housing Project of the Year.

Formerly St Luke’s hospital, Woodside Square has been redeveloped to provide mixed tenure apartments for the over fifties in new garden villas alongside restored heritage buildings, grand new family houses and affordable family homes.

Making homes to suit these different age and income groups on a single complex site has required intricate placemaking and a commitment to retaining and enhancing the existing landscape and historic buildings.

Woodside Square promotes the reintegration of older people into the centre of communities.

17.08.18

PTE secures planning approval for the Wing Design Code

PTE’s Design Code will be used to provide a benchmark for quality and co-ordination across all phases of the 65 hectare mixed use Wing Masterplan in east Cambridge. The approach of a shorter Design Code that provides strategies not solutions was praised by the Cambridgeshire Quality Review Panel, who hope it will be used as a template for future codes.
The Design Code continues PTE’s work on Wing, following approval of the Outline Planning Application in 2016. Next will be detailed planning applications for infrastructure, the first 500 homes and the mixed use Market Square local centre.

14.06.18

PTE awarded AJ Sustainable Practice of the Year

A generous approach to knowledge-sharing and a host of other initiatives made Pollard Thomas Edwards the clear winner in this category

At Pollard Thomas Edwards (PTE), sustainability is no add-on. Five years ago the practice incorporated its sustainability team into its central knowledge hub, a move that has paid off handsomely. Judges applauded the practice’s success with embedding sustainability across project delivery and deepening expertise across its 80-plus team.

Practice-wide training, complemented by knowledge hub newsletters on nitty-gritty subjects such as daylight factors, U-value calculations and designing-out thermal bridges, is central to the firm’s approach. Eight architects undertake Passivhaus training each year, with close to half the practice’s architects trained to date. Another 10 architects participate in monthly Green Register seminars, hosted at PTE but open to anyone.

With a generous approach to knowledge-sharing, PTE has contributed to an array of best-practice manuals published through CIBSE and the Zero Carbon Hub, notably including associate Tom Dollard’s recently released Designed to Perform (2018) for RIBA Publishing. Judges commended PTE’s engagement with ‘a serious industry problem’.

“The practice’s five-year vision includes detailed post-occupancy evaluation of at least five projects per year”

read more here

09.04.18

Secretary of State approves Dunsfold Park development

Plans for a new village at Dunsfold Park in Surrey, masterplanned by PTE, have been approved by the Secretary of State for Housing, Sajid Javid.

The ‘new Surrey village for the 21st Century’ will contain 1,800 homes, an expanded business park, village centre with shops and two schools and a 250-acre country park.

PTE has been working on the project since 2006. The site is a former WW2 air base, which is currently home to Top Gear and other events and businesses.

The planning application received sign off from Waverly Borough Council in December 2016 but was called in by the Secretary of State last March, taking the final decision out of the hands of the local authority.

28.03.18

PTE secures planning permission for Bishop’s Stortford Goods Yard in Hertfordshire

PTE has undertaken extensive community engagement, and planning permission was unanimously granted last night, just 22 weeks from inception.

PTE’s masterplan transforms a 6 hectare site, originally dominated by surface car parking and railway sidings, into a town centre neighbourhood focused on a new station square and riverside gardens. Development includes 586 apartments, an 85-bedroom hotel, a care home, offices, shops and discrete multi-level car parking.

"Approval of the Bishop’s Stortford scheme is an excellent outcome that will deliver significant benefits to station users and the local community. This scheme is yet another example of Network Rail partnering with the private sector to unlock land to deliver much needed new housing, attract new businesses and support economic growth, awhile generating funds to reinvest back into the railway.”

David Biggs, Managing Director, Network Rail Property

27.03.18

Laindon Town Centre commended at the MIPIM / The AR Future Project Awards

Transforming the town centre and reviving a sense of civic place and community, this regeneration scheme has gained support from the entire community. Currently dominated by a failed 1960s shopping centre, central Laindon is surrounded by dual carriage ways and traffic roundabouts.

Developer Swan Housing Association entrusted the development and delivery of the site jointly to Pollard Thomas Edwards and C.F. Møller. The team’s vision is to re-purpose and tame the existing highway infrastructure and return retail and activity to a new high street alongside improvements to the civic realm.

This co-location of diverse uses concentrates activity, delivering modern, flexible retail space, a new office for Swan, a new health centre and homes ranging from apartments to larger family houses. The team worked with Wayne Hemingway as retail design consultant on a robust and viable commercial proposal to help ensure long term sustainability.

Recalling the plotlands origins of Laindon, gabled, varied, small footprint buildings are assembled to become a town centre. A distinctive silhouette of clustering buildings is created, meeting the street as an identifiable shop or home. Swan has invested in an offsite factory close to the site, which will manufacture the buildings using Volumetric CLT modular construction.

08.03.18

PTE secures planning permission for extra-care scheme in Sevenoaks

The scheme will provide 51 new extra-care homes on the site of an existing care home in Kemsing, Sevenoaks for our client Rapport Housing. The project is due to start on site in autumn of this year.

22.02.18

PTE secures planning permission for the second phase of the Alma Estate Regeneration project in Enfield

In February, the planning committee voted unanimously to grant planning permission for the second phase of the regeneration of the Alma Estate. Phase 2 includes; 340 new homes, a medical centre, an energy centre, a youth centre, a community centre, new shops and a public park.

09.02.18

PTE secures planning permission for a mixed-use housing and arts centre scheme in Brentford Town Centre

The joint venture between London Green and Topland Group secured planning permission from the London Borough of Hounslow for both the redevelopment of the former police station in Brentford town centre and the creation of a new housing scheme on the nearby Albany Riverside site.

Designed by PTE, the redevelopment of the former police station site will provide 105 new homes and end a long-running search for a new home for the Watermans Arts Centre.

In addition to granting permission for the former police station site, Hounslow’s planning committee also gave the green light for London Green’s proposed redevelopment at Albany Riverside which involves the demolition of a disused office building, as well as the existing Watermans Arts Centre, and the creation of 193 new homes designed by Duggan Morris Architects.

The development, which occupies a prominent riverside location opposite the Kew World Heritage Site and adjacent to Watermans Park, will also include a ground floor café and improvements to the Thames Path.

Recommending approval, Hounslow planning officers described both Albany Riverside and the redevelopment of the police station as being of a high design quality.

08.02.18

PTE secures outline planning permission for the Ridgeons builders merchant site in Cambridge

PTE has secured outline planning permission for up to 245 homes, a community facility, neighbourhood park and a section of the new north-south Cambridge strategic cycle path.

PTE produced an SPD for the site in 2016, which at 3.4 hectares is one of the largest brownfield sites in inner city Cambridge.

31.01.18

PTE secures planning permission for Harrow View East D7 for Barratt London and Hyde Housing

This first phase is part of wider regeneration proposals to transform the Kodak Site in Harrow into a new residential neighbourhood.

The Kodak Site is a vacant 22-hectare industrial site in a prime location next to Wealdstone Town Centre. LB Harrow granted outline consent for redevelopment of the Kodak Site in 2015, enabling the construction of 1,800 new homes, a school, retail, commercial and community uses.

Known as Harrow View LLP, Barratt London and the Hyde Group acquired a substantial part of the site in 2017. This will be Harrow View LLP’s first phase of development and will deliver a total of 460 new homes plus a major new public green space which will be the focus for the wider regeneration.

PTE’s proposal creates a series of new streets which will link the Kodak Site back into the surrounding area, and transform the existing boundary with a series of new mansion blocks providing a lively and activate frontage.

PTE has drawn inspiration from the existing site and surrounding urban context - the scheme uses a rich palette of materials and details to define the character of different streets and outdoor spaces.

30.11.17

PTE appointed to work on Building for 2050 research project

PTE has been appointed as part of the team headed by AECOM to support the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in delivering a ground-breaking research project relating to low cost, low carbon new build housing: Building for 2050.

PTE are the architect consultant and the communications lead for this project that has just been launched by the government. PTE’s role will be to lead the stakeholder interviews, design and site reviews of selected housing developments and to ensure successful dissemination of conclusions throughout the project. PTE will be working with AECOM and other consultants Fourwalls and Delta Energy & Environment to ensure a thorough industry wide review into the homes of the future.

The project will examine the drivers, attitudes, barriers and challenges relating to low cost, low carbon housing. It will consider both the market pull and the push from some developers. Increasing the uptake of such homes will contribute to the UK’s climate change mitigation strategy and reduce energy use and bills for residents, whilst delivering attractive and comfortable homes. There will also be a significant social research element to gather all stakeholder views including residents’ attitudes and expectations. To provide context, views will be sought from wider stakeholders – both professionals and consumers.

Observations from the design and construction stages and analysis of the performance will inform the steps required to accelerate the uptake of low cost, low carbon homes. The conclusions from the Building for 2050 project will be disseminated in a variety of ways and inform future government policy.

Tom Dollard, Head of Sustainable Design at Pollard Thomas Edwards, will be leading the design and site reviews, and says: “Building for 2050 is a new government led research project that will review housebuilding activities in England and Wales, focussing on the challenges to delivering low carbon, affordable homes. Our involvement as architects is to canvass industry wide opinion and lead the design and site reviews of some of the most ground-breaking housing developments in the UK. Our communications team will help ensure lessons learnt are distributed widely across all stakeholders in a range of formats.”

The Research Team comprises:

  • AECOM (Technical lead, Social and Market research lead, Project Manager)
  • Pollard Thomas Edwards (Architect and Communications)
  • Fourwalls (Building Performance Evaluation lead)
  • Delta-ee (Low Carbon Technology specialist)

For more information please visit the project website www.buildingfor2050.co.uk

21.11.17

PTE wins architectural competition to create catalyst building in Basildon Town Centre

Inspired by the neighbouring ceramic murals which depict the original spirit of new town design, PTE's plans for East Square are the first component of an ambitious masterplan to regenerate and densify the town centre.

PTE has been chosen by Basildon Borough Council to deliver the council’s aspiration to introduce a daytime and evening leisure, entertainment and food offer in the town centre. This proposal includes: a 10-screen multiplex cinema, six new restaurants; and upgrades the setting of an important civic space which is bordered by the grade II listed Brooke House by Sir Basil Spence and Anthony Davies.

This project win follows PTE’s successful mixed-use development, The Scene, which recently reintroduced a cinema, restaurants and new homes to Walthamstow town centre. It also follows the successful planning permission for the nearby Laindon Town Centre regeneration – a fully modular, cross-laminated timber high street and residential neighbourhood in collaboration with C.F. Møller.

Carl Vann, Partner at PTE said: “Regenerating East Square and introducing new uses will create the outward ripple effect intended by the Council to raise the game for Basildon Town Centre. We want to tap into the rich heritage of the Festival of Britain-inspired context and add new buildings which respect this, but elevate it for the 21st Century.”

Cllr Alan Ball, Basildon Council’s Chairman of the Regeneration and Environment Committee, said: “I am delighted our exciting plans for East Square are moving forward with Pollard Thomas Edwards. This development will boost the local economy and provide new jobs for local people. We want East Square to be a destination of choice rather than convenience.”

03.11.17

homeworks - Exhibition at the NLA Galleries - November

NLA Galleries, The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT

3 November - 29 November 2017

This exhibition shows how you could get involved in the design of your home and neighbourhood and enjoy genuine choice about how you live.

Public discourse voices people’s frustration about lack of influence over our domestic environment, and expresses a yearning for something more than generic products. Even well-intentioned initiatives to raise design quality (for example the London Housing Design Guide, specialist build-to-rent homes and a renewed drive towards off-site fabrication) can have the unintended effect of narrowing the range of what is on offer.

We look at three case studies by Pollard Thomas Edwards showing how consumers of housing can enjoy real influence over some very topical areas of demand:

Community-led estate regeneration: how a twelve-year collaborative process has transformed a ‘problem estate’ into a connected urban neighbourhood

Cohousing for our ageing population: how a determined group of older women have joined forces to shape their own futures

Custom-build family houses: how buyers can create their own homes from one million options

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