Reading housing scheme gets permission

A proposal to build 765 new homes on a retail park next to the River Kennet in Reading which was design reviewed by DSE’s Berkshire Panel has been given planning permission. The scheme is designed by PRP for developer London & Quadrant (L&Q).

The Kenavon Drive project will replace existing Toys ‘R’ Us and Homebase stores built after a Victorian factory complex, once home to the Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory, was flattened in 1978.

A mix of flats, ground-floor duplexes and townhouses, the development will include 157 affordable homes. It also features two new public squares and a linear park, as well as a restaurant, shops and employment space. The scheme came to Design Review in October 2016 and among the recommendations taken on board was the replacement of a 19-storey tower block, acting as a ‘marker’ for the development for people coming along the main road from Reading station, with a more modest 11-storey building.

According to PRP, the design will be constructed mainly from brick and includes ’a dynamic arrangement of saw-tooth roofs’ referencing the industrial buildings that once stood on the site. The use of historically inspired abstracted forms and techniques will create a contemporary architectural language that reflects the site’s manufacturing past as well as the character of neighbouring listed buildings in the area.

PRP’s landscape team has proposed a series of integrated streets and spaces for the scheme, that include a revitalised riverside promenade leading to a major new riverside square overlooking the River Kennet. The square features terraced seating, with new trees, lawns and fountains. Cafés and a restaurant will line the square, offering al fresco dining in a riverfront setting.

PRP director Craig Sheach told the Architects Journal: ’We were inspired by Reading’s history, the site and L&Q’s aspirations for the project and have developed a design which we believe is deeply rooted in its place, drawing inspiration from the former site’s industrial character.

‘When delivered, the scheme will enhance the eastern quarter of Reading and provide residents and locals with a well-connected, walkable neighbourhood and a place to enjoy a leisurely moment by the water – something that doesn’t happen currently at this part of the river.’

Craig Luttman, regional managing director (counties) at L&Q, added: ‘We aren’t just building homes; we are investing heavily in local infrastructure and creating a new destination with ample community facilities, employment opportunities and an ecologically enhanced riverside walk to improve biodiversity.”

The site falls within Reading Council’s Eastern Opportunity Area of the town’s Central Area Action Plan, which guides development through to 2026.  The scheme is due to start at the end of this year (2018).

Black Country Panel appointed

The Black Country LEP, supported by DSE, has appointed its Panel to assess and advise on housing schemes for the Black Country Garden City

The Black Country Garden City is an ambitious initiative to increase the quantity and raise the quality of new housing in the Black Country. Promoted by the Black Country LEP and supported by the four local authorities of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton as well as housebuilders in the private and social sectors, it sees the Black Country as a new type of 21st century garden city, based on the transformation of an existing urban area, rather than a new settlement in the countryside. The idea for Black Country Garden City came from DSE’s Head of Design Advice, David Tittle when he was working for MADE in Birmingham. He gathered together a group of professionals who through a series of open studios, worked up the concept and submitted it for the Wolfson Prize.

As part of the initiative the Black Country LEP is developing an accreditation system for new housing developments. It wants to designate the best new housing schemes in the area as Black Country Garden City Developments.  Accreditation will get new developments noticed, by the media and the public. It can be used in their marketing. It will provoke discussion and raise aspirations.

Accreditation will be carried out by a panel of experts, assessing schemes against 10 Black Country Garden City Principles. This is not a design review panel, initially its only role is assessment, but the role of the panel may evolve and panel members may be asked to provide advice and support to the Garden City initiative in other ways.

The members of the new panel are:

Alan Bain

Charlie Baker

Daniel Roberts

Elizabeth Griffiths

Hannah Lewis

Joe Holyoak

John Davies

Jon Akers Coyle

Katie Kershaw

Margaret Baddeley

Peter Shirley

Sarah Robinson

Sian Griffiths

Simon Atkinson

Stefan Kruczkowski

If you are developing or designing housing in the Black Country and want to engage with the panel please contact David Tittle by email or call 01634 401166

Grain House gets planning approval

3091985_thegrainhouse_studiobark_roofplan_h

East London architects, Studio Bark has won approval for a private house at Thakeham, West Sussex after taking the proposal to the DSE design review panel. The application was made under Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework which … [Continue reading]

DCLG Planning Delivery Fund

2016-10-29 12.12.33

DCLG have announced new funding to help improve design quality and speed up housing growth. DSE can be your partner to deliver the outcomes required. The Planning Delivery Fund includes streams for Joint Working, Design Quality and Innovation.  … [Continue reading]

Caring Wood is RIBA House of the Year

Caring Wood House

Caring Wood in Kent, a ‘paragraph 55’ house reviewed by the DSE design review panel, has been named 2017 RIBA House of the Year. Designed by James Macdonald Wright and Niall Maxwell the house is inspired by the traditional oast houses of Kent, the … [Continue reading]

Croydon’s Whitgift redevelopment gets planning

Whitgiftresize-20171115122756338

A scheme to redevelop a major south London shopping centre, which was reviewed by the DSE panel, has been given planning approval. The London Borough of Croydon has given the go ahead for the Whitgift Shopping Centre to be redeveloped with a mix … [Continue reading]

Consultant required – help us plan our work with communities

2016-10-29 12.12.33

We are seeking a consultant to help us increase our direct involvement with communities As an enterprising charity, we have developed a financial model based entirely on fee income. Everything we do is in the public interest, but often the benefit … [Continue reading]

Join our team – full time post for Design Advisor

Natalie@JasonPayStudio-80

Join a growing organisation at the forefront of promoting good design in the built environment. DSE is an independent charity working to improve the quality of design in the built environment. We started over 20 years ago as an architecture centre … [Continue reading]

Brighton & Hove City Charrette – 11th December 2017

Brighton_Hove cropped image

Building at Density: what does good look like? With a growing demand for homes and jobs within the restricted city boundaries of Brighton and Hove there are pressures to increase residential densities. But with poor examples from the late … [Continue reading]

Annual Architecture Lecture to discuss Developing Historic Environments

Kings_Cross_Open_to_Public_004 (2)

Every year The Guildford Society holds its Annual Architecture Lecture hosted by the University of Surrey. Run by volunteers to provide a forum for debate about the issues affecting Guildford Town and Borough, the Society is known for holding … [Continue reading]