The Village, St Austell
Local Victorian St Austell terraces have inspires many house type styles at The Village, but the architect has mixed these with other elements such as Regency terraces and traditional Cornish fishing homes. This range of house types, though far from contemporary, is built to a high standard of craftsmanship and with the integration of shops at the entrance and the proposed Enterprise centre should combine to give The Village a conservative but clear identity. The detailing of the homes is robust, with elements such as timber frame windows, solid slate and stone window sills, stone walling, wall mounted street lanterns, Regency style balconies and a variety of locally inspired coloured renders.
The streets throughout the site are defined clearly by the terraces of homes, so roads do not dominate the scheme. The variety of building types, clear signage and pedestrian permeable nature of the scheme make it easy to navigate.
As the site slopes steeply down from the entrance, some views are maximised out across the town from plots at the top of the site. An existing stream has been extended through the site as a sustainable drainage system (SUDS). The SUDS is visible and accessible at the bottom of the site, though the top half of it is hidden between the backs of terraced houses. The land below the site had a history of flooding, so as part of the development program, large rainwater retention systems have been built underground to mitigate future flooding risk.
Roads, parking and pedestrianisation
The roads are defined by the building layout at The Village, so are curved and cause visibility to be restricted for drivers, which naturally reduces traffic speeds. Wide raised pavements and road nibs separate pedestrians from cars and cyclists along the main roads, while shared surface areas are denoted by raised paving.
Parking is provided at just over one space per unit in a variety of ways, from on street to on plot spaces, which keep streets active, to integral garages and less successful rear parking courts.
Pedestrian and cycle paths link the site to surrounding areas. Public areas and routes are overlooked by the housing and feel safe as a consequence.
Design and construction
The house types built at The Village were designed specifically for the site in order to reflect the local house types rather than using standard house types, so often seen in new developments, which bear no relation to their surroundings.
The site has a grassed 'village green' at its heart which will incorporate a toddlers play area. The roads will all be adopted by Restormel Borough Council, with common areas and private parking managed by Devon and Cornwall management, appointed by Midas and funded by a residents service charge.
The homes are not designed to be super energy efficient but the insulation provided did exceed the Building Regulations requirements at the time of planning.
Construction is traditional brick and block, using local materials and local sub contractors. Most homes are traditional in layout but the scheme also provides flexible live/work terraced homes with designated ground floor space, which can be used as an office with its own separate entrance. Actively used live work units ought to keep the development a little more busy during the day.
Environment and community
The site is well located for day to day needs. As well as providing a supermarket and chemist at the site entrance, it is a ten minute walk to two additional supermarkets. A bus route runs along Carlyon Road outside the entrance, and the town centre and train station are within 10 to 15 minutes walk. All of these, as well as limitations on allocated parking spaces, should encourage less car use.
Though not scoring highly on official eco-ratings, the reuse of a brownfield site, near to amenities and the town centre, coupled with the creation of a SUDs soak away system and use of local materials do mitigate against the environmental impact of the development.
The mix of accommodation from one bed flats to four bed townhouses both for private and affordable tenants results in a mixed community reflective of the local need.