Environment and community
These are the first phases of a development and at the moment it is wholly residential. As it is progresses, however, the community and commercial buildings will add variety and life to the area.
Stanmore Place is well located for local facilities and open space. Transport links are good with a number of local bus routes and an underground station within a 5to 0 minute walk of most homes. Close to Canons Park underground station, local shops and bus routes, the development provides excellent access to local facilities for pedestrians.
At this stage only 196 of potentially more than 800 homes have been developed. The mix is social rented houses and private tenure flats. Based on the initial masterplan, this will eventually become more balanced with approximately 60 per cent private, 20 per cent social rented and 20 per cent shared ownership.
The tenure mix was developed with the local authority’s housing department and the scheme’s housing association. Homes provided for rent are of a high standard and popular with tenants.
A major aspect of development of the site has been the creative use of the landscape to overcome flood risk. This has been done in a sustainable manner through the creation of a large water feature and lake, and without the need to export material from site.
The design is specific to the scheme but not in any way constrained by the character of the local area. The development has intentionally avoided ‘fitting in’ with the surrounding area, instead using robust details and materials, flat roofs and a predominance of three- to four-storey buildings to create its own character.
The main topographical feature of the site is the Edgware Brook. While it runs just outside the site, its presence and the flood risk it presents have been used to great effect to create a lake with water features and lush planting.
Although still at an early stage, a clear hierarchy of streets and spaces is emerging. It is unfortunate that the affordable housing had to be provided in a continuous street in the first phase as the quality of that street and its resolution at each end is less successful. However, with the completion of pedestrian routes, it will be better tied into its surroundings.
The layout is clear and legible and a continuity of enclosure in block form will be carried through. Active frontages are provided throughout.
Streets, parking and pedestrianisation
The use of a strong logical block plan, combined with a multi-storey car storage space, will ensure that that streets and cars do not dominate. Streets will be free from vehicle traffic for much of the time. Semi-public spaces and internal car-free courts will provide informal as well as formal areas for children’s play.
Dropping off spaces and occasional bays for visitors will be provided in due course but the avoidance of large areas of on-street car parking will enhance the attractiveness of the development and ensure that streets are safer and more pedestrian friendly.
Pedestrian and cycle routes through the site are planned but not yet in place. They will, however, provide a range of direct and safe overlooked streets and spaces. The lack of provision for cycle storage to the front of the houses and the combination of refuse storage with planting to limited frontages is a concern.
Integration with existing streets is limited because of the constraints of the site. The south and east boundaries are inaccessible. The north side has been opened up to a limited extent by the purchase of houses on Whitchurch Lane.
Overall, consistent and active street frontages with good overlooking and safe spaces have been provided.
Design and construction
The initial phases of the development have set a high standard of design, construction and materials. Elevations are generally calm and logical. On lakeside elevations there is stonework at ground level, brickwork and timber cladding, with metalwork balcony construction. Timber cladding predominates, but there will be more brickwork in future phases.
The houses, of similar materials to the apartments, have been designed to provide a rhythm along the street. The roofs and setbacks, as well as treatment of the front areas, are used to break up the frontage. It is, however, an extremely long elevation, which terminates at each end in undefined spaces. The site boundary at the far west end of the street could be better resolved.
Houses are narrow fronted and have small rear gardens so opportunities for extension or adaptation are limited. The Lifetime Homes standard is met. The apartments are planned to relatively small space standards, with little potential for extension.
As a large development, it takes advantage of simple and repetitive construction processes. A number of early strategic decisions, such as resolution of the flood risk and providing multi-storey car storage space on the southern boundary, have brought economies and efficiencies to the development.
On the evidence of phases completed so far, there will be a high standard of management and maintenance across the whole development.