Accessibility links

Top Navigation

Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 044 - Estimating the value of good design

044 - Port Marine, Portishead, Bristol

In developing large scale projects in areas of low demand, Crest Nicholson has recognised the necessity of creating a sense of place through strong design concepts from the earliest stage of development in order to raise confidence in the project and bring long-term value to both the developers and those people who are going to live there. At Port Marine, Crest Nicholson has converted a disused contaminated power station site into a mixed-use, mixed-tenure development, providing 3,420 homes, 69,680m2 of employment and 60,390m2 of retail space when complete. A hierarchy of streets, character areas, public, private and semi-private space, extensive hard and soft landscaping, public art works and varying building types have helped create a sense of location in an otherwise low-value site.

Stephen Stone, Chief Executive of Crest Nicholson explained that they as developers commonly invest 10-20% more in build costs than other developers, and that their build cost is commonly 50% of the sales price. Crest Nicholson offset costs by increasing density. Planners support increased density based on the quality proposed. They believe that they can generate a 15-20% increase in open market sales value because people want to buy into a good environment. This approach was found to work best on medium to large sites due to an increased opportunity to create location.

Crest Nicholson is committed to using external architects and producing bespoke schemes. Creating places brings value, both in terms of financial return and in building a positive reputation as a developer synonymous with quality.

‘It is important to get the right mix of properties within each phase to help speed of sales. Good design can sell property off plan. Rate of sale is as important as £ profit because the turnover is quicker – something that is often overlooked’, Stephen Stone sums it up.

Other Information

  • Location: Bristol
  • Project Team: Crest Nicholson, Masterplanner: Llewelyn Davies Yeang, Arctitect: BBA, Charter Partnership, APG, Austin Smith
  • Contact:


UDC2 Section - Delivering Quality and Adding Value 

The design of high-quality development with a balanced mix of properties at Port Marine, Portishead, Bristol has led to the creation of a prime development location in an otherwise low-value area.

Images (image bank)