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18/01/2011
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Stanmore Place

Harrow, London

Design process

The design had a long gestation. Many options were developed and assessed before work began on site. Development of the design was very much a team effort with the client lead provided by St Edward Homes, part of the Berkeley Group, working with a registered social landlord. The local community, including the local amenity society, was also consulted.

Early on, the design had to address the risk of on-site flooding, which could have potentially excluded large parts of the site. A solution was found in considering cut and fill operations across the site and the creation of a water feature.

Constraints on all boundaries of the site also needed creative responses, for example, opening access for movement into and through the site where possible on the north and west, and dealing with impenetrable barriers to the industrial estate to the south and elevated railway embankment to the east.

Karl Whiteman, Divisional Executive Director of Berkeley Group, commented: ‘Stanmore Place is a complex project which presented a number of significant design, planning and environmental challenges. By working closely with our architects and consultants, we were able to overcome these to deliver a vibrant mixed-tenure community with strong design and sustainability credentials.’

The requirement to incorporate a single first phase of 56 houses for rent, including a number of accessible homes, also influenced design decisions.  Providing a balanced mix of affordable houses and apartments for sale had to be combined with a programme requiring early delivery of affordable homes. Karl Whiteman added: ‘The success of the project is clearly demonstrated by the speed of completion and occupation of the affordable housing as well as the sales rate and capital values achieved on the private sale properties.’

The masterplan therefore had to resolve the phasing and accommodation requirements of the stakeholders within a constrained site with limited access opportunities. It is a well considered solution to a number of physical, management and financial constraints.

Delivering the masterplan was delayed by an appeal after the local planning committee overturned the officers’ recommendation to approve the scheme.

Looking to the future, the original mix of predominantly smaller units may be reconsidered. The masterplanners maintain a close working relationship with the developer to find the best design options to respond to the evolving market.