Godalming Key Site
Residential-led mixed use development including 182 homes, a police station, and retail units. Designed by Allies and Morrison.
17 December 2009
Planning reference: WA/2009/1674
We wholeheartedly support this planning application. The developer is to be commended for its choice of a well-respected architect for the new proposal on this sensitive site. The principle of perimeter development and the scale and massing of the buildings are an appropriate response and we believe that the new application shows the potential to be a development that will have the high design quality and distinctiveness to make a distinguished contribution to Godalming.
We welcome the thorough analysis of historic local precedent that has generated the well-considered sequence of spaces through the site. We support the pedestrian permeability, the appropriately sized, white-rendered courtyards and the diminution in the scale of the built form from the urban edges to the softer, green centre of the site. This scheme will help to re-establish a coherent urban fabric in this area of the town. We do not object to the principle of some areas being gated at night and feel that clarity in the definition of public and private space has been successfully generated.
We think that a simple, undulating grassed area will provide an attractive amenity space in the centre of the development. The relationship between the projecting blocks to the rear of Catteshall Lane, the planted strip and the garden is good, and privacy between public routes or shared amenity space and any ground floor habitable rooms has been successfully resolved.
We support the rigorous approach to the development of the elevations. We believe that a strong set of design principles has been established and that, in the course of their development, richness and variety in the treatment and use of materials has been generated. The palette of materials relates well to the existing buildings of Godalming.
We welcome the proportions and rhythmic nature of the elevations and their modulation in response to the site’s topography. The distinct difference in character between the treatment of Flambard Way and the more domestic scale of Catteshall Lane is successful, and the sloping parapets on Catteshall Lane deal well with the reduction in scale from east to west. We enjoy the expression and reduced scale of the cottages at the rear of Flambard Way, which relate well to the internal shared garden. The manipulation of form in response to the site and context has generated a well articulated roofscape in views looking down on the site.
The height of the corner treatment at the junction of Catteshall Lane and Flambard Way is appropriate only if the architecture is of exceptional quality, explicitly celebrating the corner and creating a strong image of the building from the direction of the town centre. With this in mind, we think that the form of the corner has successfully developed an appropriate verticality and distinctiveness, which successfully addresses views from the town centre.
Ultimately the success of this development when built will be dependant on exemplary detailed design and the choice of appropriate materials and, in this context, will be very sensitive to any reduction in quality. The local planning authority should be convinced that the development can be realised to a high quality and may wish to apply conditions to ensure an appropriate level of control on design details and materials.
We welcome the commitment to Code for Sustainable Homes level 4.
We are pleased to support the planning application. This is an intelligent and compelling proposal, which we think is a very significant improvement on the previous application scheme. We commend the skill of the architects in designing a rare example of architecture that has a contextual quality but remains crisp, fresh and of its time. We welcome the client’s commitment to high quality design and have confidence that, if these architects are retained to develop the detailed design and construction drawings for this scheme following any planning approval, it will offer something of real delight to Godalming.