Three entrepreneurial sisters came to us with a plot of land they owned in a busy part of Lambeth near Streatham Hill that they wanted to invest in. Their idea was to create a medium-sized corner building to create housing with commercial units underneath to match the surrounding area.
The existing plot located by Streatham Hill station was a vacant lot that was used as parking for the neighbouring lock-up shops, and the lack of formal urbanisation or use presented a poor image to the surrounding area as the land was often full of rubbish and detritus.
Here we worked very closely with the council to ensure that both parties got what they wanted. After negotiation and plenty of hard work and adaptations, we were able to provide a handsome corner development, with eight apartments with balconies and two commercial units, as well as a gorgeous roof garden for the residents to use.
Our project was an unprepossessing corner plot in Streatham, with no clear use in an otherwise densely-populated neighbourhood. Our clients came to us with a proposal to use their ownership of the land to create value within the neighbourhood by transforming their plot into housing and commercial units.
Our initial designs, however, ended up being constrained by the plot and by Lambeth’s generous amenity space policy and stringent streetscape guidelines. It was difficult to provide the number of flats wanted by the developers, to find enough amenity space for each apartment and also respect the guidelines for apartment sizes, aspect and setbacks at the same time. In addition, for new build flats planning applications, Lambeth set us an ambitious target to ensure our buildings met their zero carbon targets - so this project ended up being quite the puzzle to solve!
With our design, we decided to look to the future redevelopment of the immediate area, and to provide a building that maintained the streetscape in terms of commercial space and housing mix. With this in mind, we designed two four-storey buildings that had different housing arrangements, and in a Pre-Application Advice meeting with Lambeth Council, sought guidance on which design to follow through with and so save time and effort further down the line.
With their requirements, guidance and targets in mind, we were able to design an apartment block that provided employment and sustainable income in the form of commercial units on the ground floor, and a selection of differently-sized apartments on the upper three floors. The flats were larger than the guidelines specified, but there was a catch: we needed to meet Lambeth’s requirements for the flats to be dual-aspect while also leaving the eastern wall blank for future development on that side of the apartment building.
This meant that we had to sacrifice amenity space within the apartments. Negotiating with the council, we were able to re-allocate this space to the roof of the building, meaning the lucky residents not only got brand new spacious dual-aspect apartments, but also a private roof garden in the middle of Streatham to enjoy!
Perhaps the best thing about these flats is their access right into Central London in less than 15 minutes - ideal for night owls and busy commuters!