Barrier Park East Phase 2
A reserved matters application for 167 new homes, retail and commercial units, a residents' gymnasium, landscaping, and car and cycle parking. Designed by Maccreanor Lavington.
16 June 2010
Planning reference: 10/01015/REM
We reviewed the masterplan for this scheme on 13 August 2008.
Notwithstanding our fundamental concerns about the Barrier Park East masterplan approach to the complexity of the site and its context, we think that the proposals for phase 2 are a generally well-considered response to the constraints. The residential planning is decent and the quality of the architecture is promising. However, we have some concerns about the level of detailed thought given to the landscape proposals and the level of information provided to describe the materials and details. The planning authority will need to be convinced that they have sufficient information to secure these elements that will be critical to the success of the scheme.
We are pleased that a strategic approach is being taken to the wider design of the landscape under the DLR viaduct. The quality of the open space to the north of the scheme will be critical to the success of the scheme and needs careful consideration to mitigate the harsh road environment. However, the landscape proposals seem diagrammatic and do not seem to have benefitted from the same level of detailed thought evident in the residential planning.
The planning authority will need to be convinced how the spaces will be used, the levels of daylight and sunlight they will receive and how they will be managed, maintained and funded in perpetuity, including the residential courtyards. We would expect the function and character of the landscape spaces to be fully explored in a series of views.
Notwithstanding the need for wider urban design study, we think the case could be made for the massing proposed on the corner of Thames Road and North Woolwich Road. We supported the masterplan proposal for courtyard blocks which promises to be a successful residential model on this site. We welcome the approach to the detailed residential planning that has been informed by a clear attitude to orientation, circulation and light. For example, we support an arrangement in response to the site conditions that avoids north facing single aspect homes and welcome the introduction of the day-lit breakout along the internal corridor.
We also supported the masterplan proposal for south facing terrace of town houses with individual front doors to animate the public realm along Thames Road, which remains a positive feature of the scheme. We understand the intention to make the front doors the most prominent element in the street, but think the design of the garage doors would benefit from some further refinement.
It is essential that the connection to the north established in the masterplan between blocks C and D works well. However, we are concerned that there will be a lack of activity at street level and find the treatment of the edge that conceals the carpark poorly resolved. While the lattice work perimeter fence could be beautiful if well-detailed, we are not convinced by the quality suggested in the illustrations provided. The detailing of the junction with the end elevation of the townhouse terrace needs further resolution.
Materials and details
We find the use of patterned concrete panels more successful where they express significant breaks in the north and east elevations, rather than where they are only an applied finish, at the upper levels of the north elevation of the tower in particular.
The planning authority will need to ensure that there is sufficient information to describe the concrete panels, filigree screen and brickwork in detail before planning consent is granted. In particular, the quality and colour of the bricks and the mortar will be essential to the success of the proposals, and should been conditioned as part of the planning consent. It is essential that the architectural vision is carried through detailed design stages to completion to ensure that the potential of the scheme is achieved in construction.