The proposals comprise 16 x Unit Type 1, 14 x Unit Type 2 & 10 x Unit Type 3 in a series of two-storey private individual dwellings or single storey flats in ‘mews’ houses. The ‘mews’ houses provide the combination of one upper level flat for a mobile owner whilst providing subtle surveillance of the ground level flat which may be owned by someone less mobile.
Unit Types 1 & 2 can be subdivided to provide 1 x double bedroom and 2 x single bedrooms dependent on the owners specific requirements. In addition, the Living / Dining areas are designed to allow a single bed to be easily located to provide an additional temporary sleeping space or to facilitate use on a single level. The pitch of the roof, along with the proposed construction would enable use of the roof space for storage or conversion into habitable accommodation at a later date. Bathrooms and circulation spaces have been designed for ease of access and circulation.
Each unit has a small, manageable area of private outdoor space – either in the form of a roof terrace or ground-level garden or court.
All units with street frontage include private off-street parking. Unit Types 1 & 3 have a garage for one car, Unit Type 2 has a garage for two cars. The ten Type 2 units within the central courtyard have a larger garden in lieu of car parking.
The existing access from Coppice Hill is retained with the communal hub located as the first building to be viewed. The south aspect is maximised with the majority of properties offered a view towards the wooded bank.
The transition from public to private realm across semi-private space presents a clear spatial hierarchy both on the streets and within the central courtyard.
In addition to the private off-street parking within the units, additional limited parking is provided in small pockets across the site within the streets.
The communal areas are intended to offer space for interaction and sociability. The central courtyard is split by the ten Type 2 units; each side could take on a different feel, one more formal and one more flexible. The aspiration is for the streets to become social spaces, with low traffic movements and priority for pedestrians The communal hub would provide a site office in conjunction with a small cafe & lounge, with access to a shared terrace at the upper level.
The extensive use of brick reflects the local character as do the pitched & tiled roofs – both offer many benefits including durability and low maintenance. In conjunction with the massing they provide a highly identifiable ‘signature’ for the development.
The layout is intended to give an ecological design priority, reflecting that the initial decisions have the widest effect. The working philosophy is ‘to touch the ground lightly’, specifying materials that are as reusable or recyclable as reasonably achievable. Such materials must be ‘fit for purpose’, non-toxic and sourced from as close to the site as possible.
The proposed structure for the housing and studios, subject to meeting the necessary cost restraints, is structural insulated panels for the walls & intermediate floors. These would be constructed off-site. The roof structure would be timber trusses, designed to enable use of the roof void.
The proposed materials for the envelope are local brick, plain clay roof tiles and aluminium double glazed windows. The extensive use of brick for cladding offers the benefit of using the thermal mass to balance temperatures throughout the day.
It is intended to incorporate ‘non-visual’ means of renewable energy sources, either through ground source or air source heat pumps installed within each property.