The latest report from the House Builders Federation [HBF] reveals that across the UK 29,100 residential units were approved during the second quarter of 2011; a 23% drop on the previous three months and 26% lower than the same period in 2010. Against this backdrop is a site in Brighton & Hove a demonstration project for how it should be done?
Together with Yelo Architects, Hyde Housing Association is proposing to build 71 apartments at Park House - the site of the old Bellerby’s College between Hove Recreation Ground and Hove Park on the Old Shoreham Road .
Hyde has a programme to build about 340 new homes in the city over the next three years and the proposed mixed tenure scheme at Park House will provide 41 open market apartments (57%) to be sold privately and 30 apartments (43%) that will be "affordable" homes.
There will be a range of apartment sizes with 22 x 1 bed (31%), 34 x 2 bed (48%) and 15 x 3 bed family accommodation (21%).
The scheme includes underground parking for 71 cars all with charging points for electric vehicles which will be complemented by nearly 100 secure cycle parking spaces and a car club using electric vehicles.
Many of the apartments on the ground floor will have gardens and there will be a communal garden at the rear of the site. The upper storeys will have balconies which, at 6 sq metres, have been specifically proportioned to accommodate the usual table and chairs but also galvanised steel planters. Careful landscaping of the site by the award winning landscape architect Nicholas Dexter will create a continuous “green link” between the two parks and allow access for badgers to their breeding setts on the adjacent land.
The London and Lewes baed Ecology Consultancy has been involved in the design of the site to ensure that the habitat of protected species is preserved and a comprehensive set of ecology surveys and reports will accompany the planning application. A wormery, composting facilities and bee hives are also proposed.
The buildings will use unrendered bricks manufactured by a local supplier based in Horsham and, as far as practicably possible, the developers have committed to sourcing all materials from within 30 miles. So far only the zinc for the roof has proved to be difficult to source from within this radius.
The development will achieve Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes by using a super performance building fabric, ultra high levels of insulation, photovoltaic roof covering, triple-glazed windows, exhaust air heat pumps and planted swales to collect rainwater run off. Overall, the building will reduce carbon emissions by over 44% compared to a home built to the standard Building Regulations.
Economic Partnership Comment
Until a planning application is submitted it isn’t possible to formally approve the scheme but at this stage, on paper at least, it appears to represent just what the city needs in terms of homes for its resident population.
The apartments are all larger than the standards demanded by the Homes & Communities Agency [HCA] and the developers have clearly gone to some lengths to make the development as sustainable as practicably possible including a commitment to sourcing from within 30 miles including the consultant team thus helping to promote economic growth at a local level [£10m construction value]. They have also committed to zero demolition waste going to landfill.
The only downside of the development is the provision of 71 car parking spaces. The developers are proposing this number to comply with the planning brief but it seems out of place in a city with aspirations to become the greenest in the UK and where car ownership is well below the national average.
While public transport along the Old Shoreham Road is limited, the site is only two minutes walk from Hove station and ten minutes walk from the north/south bus corridor at Sackville Road and the proposed new cycle lane on Old Shoreham road will start just a block away.
The Economic Partnership will respond formally to the planning applicaiton when it is submitted.
Read related items on:
Old Shoreham Road