The homes we have designed at Oakfield are seen as the catalyst for wider change in the neighbourhood, not merely as an end in themselves. The following principles have guided the project throughout its course:
Society: Building a mutually supportive community and neighbourhood from the outset, positively impacting communities beyond the red line of the project
Diversity: Meeting the aspirations of the widest range of households, including those under-served by the mainstream market
Affordability: Committing to the Council’s policy level of affordable housing, and providing a wide range of market homes to suit different life-styles and stages
Robustness: Designing and building solid, comfortable homes which meet customer priorities, in a setting that is thoughtfully and properly managed in the longer term
Transparency: Demonstrating best practice in marketing, sales, lettings and aftercare processes
Replicability: Breaking even and allowing other responsible organisations to follow the spirit and process of this project in their own localities.
The scheme provides 239 homes with a mixture of tenures, suitable for local people at every stage of their life, from first time buyers, to families, to over 55s. The project aims to deliver a high-quality benchmark for housing, which challenges the approach of the traditional volume housebuilder. The economic arrangement of home types, forming terraces around communal courts, are designed to foster community spirit, and enable a higher proportion of the site to be devoted to soft landscape, even at high parking densities.
The project has been developed through extensive consultation with the local community and in close dialogue with the council’s planning team. The conceptual framework for the development is based on creating a permeable and walkable new neighbourhood with a grid of streets and paths that respond to existing facilities: local shops, bus stops, walking and cycling routes, allotments and open green spaces, to facilitate the integration of the site with the surrounding area. By connecting existing cycle routes and providing well maintained attractive foot paths away from loud busy roads, we begin the process of making a place for all communities. New streets and parks can connect these neighbourhoods with valued local amenities. A single primary vehicular street connects Greenbridge Road and Marlowe Avenue. It feeds the dwellings via tertiary roads, which are designed to be over looked to allow for safe, pedestrian priority shared areas which integrate parking with footpaths and communal gardens therefore maximising permeability and accessibility.
The use of carefully located buildings, planting and landscape are utilized to enclose, screen and reveal certain defined territories (a public square, a private garden, a busy road or a quiet passageway) which gives opportunities for pause, change of speed, direction or a sense of arrival.
By creating these separated and legible places of enclosure, we can offer a deeper reading of the streets and parks that link them; a series of short journeys with a defined beginning and end.
Expressing the relationships between the buildings and their adjacent open spaces, creates a neighbourhood with a palpable sense of identity,
The development is designed to extend its positive influence beyond the site boundaries, improving the public realm around the shops, creating a new community hub near The Oakfield Project; a special education school located adjacent to the site, and helping to connect the surrounding communities to the local amenities and to each other along attractive new routes.
"“I’m really encouraged by the emerging architecture, it will heavily contribute towards creating a strong sense of place and a distinctive identity for the future community that will live here. This would set an exemplary design standard for the rest of our major housing development across the Borough.”"