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Grange Farm \

Setting a new standard for affordable homes in Harrow

The regeneration of Grange Farm aims to create an exemplary mixed-tenure community that sets a new standard for mid-density suburban developments in London.

The existing Grange Farm estate comprises 282 mainly social rented homes, predominantly made up of one and two bedroom ‘resi-form’ prefabricated dwellings arranged in identical three storey clusters. The buildings have not aged well and have come to the end of their life. Harrow Council have developed cross-party support for the regeneration of the entire estate to address its historic flaws and create a higher density, mixed tenure neighbourhood.

574

new homes
over double the previous number whilst increasing home sizes

Won following a limited design competition, our proposal will deliver 574 new homes, of which 38% will be for social rent, 4% for shared ownership and 58% will be for private sale. The scheme will also deliver a new community centre at the heart of the site. Phase 01, consisting of 89 social rent and shared ownership homes is due to begin on site in early 2019.

241

affordable homes
of which 90% are social rent homes

The challenge

The challenge was to double the density of the estate, whilst maintaining open space and without breaching strict height restrictions imposed by the safeguarding zones surrounding RAF Northolt Airport, just 4km away. As well as provide new homes for the existing residents, private homes have been introduced to subsidise the affordable homes and create a mixed tenure community.

Due to its history as a working farm up until the mid-twentieth century, the existing estate is isolated from neighbouring communities with limited dead-end access routes. Whilst the estate benefits from extensive open green space and numerous mature trees, it lacks definition and ownership. The over-riding design objective has therefore been to open up the estate, creating a series of distinct public open spaces and private gardens of varying character that stitches the design into the local area to create a neighbourhood that is a natural extension of South Harrow.

12,285

sq m
of new landscaped open space

The big idea

Our masterplan proposes a network of public streets and squares which create a legible series of multi-functional open spaces for public and communal use. A series of improved and new pedestrian routes are also proposed to increase connectivity to the wider area and local transport. All routes converge at the heart of the scheme, where a new civic square provides a gathering point in front of a new community centre, with a ‘Village Green’ beyond.

The small detail

Three distinct residential typologies are proposed that respond sensitively to their surroundings, designed to integrate the scheme within the existing context. Each typology has its own unique architectural character which responds to its location within the masterplan and surrounding context, whilst sharing common features and materiality to create a unified and coherent community, all inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement which is prevalent in the vernacular of South Harrow.

Smaller scale, metroland plots are located on the northern and western edges of the site, featuring low rise buildings, steep roof pitches, dormers and varied domestic architectural details to echo the adjacent suburban context. Medium scale courtyard blocks are located at the centre of the site which define intimate white brick clad communal residents’ gardens, combined with a more formal urban exterior featuring striking pitched gables. These blocks incorporate a unique folding roof design, developed to achieve the required housing density and generous living spaces without breaching strict height restrictions imposed by RAF Northolt. To the southern boundaries of the site, linear mansion plots are proposed which relate to the urban character of Northolt Road, featuring more unified, bold and repetitive details and flat roofs. Inspired by the ‘Great Barn’ which once stood on the site, the new Community Centre is designed to have a distinct character, with timber cladding to distinguish it from the brick clad residential typologies.

Our architectural approach was inspired by the painting ‘Suburb of Harrow on the Hill’ by Charles Ginner, which describes a layered scene of rich character and strong sense of place.

  • Project Details
  • Project Update
  • The bigger picture
  • Consultation

Project Summary

Project Team

Landscape Architect: Grant Associates
Structural, M&E, Civil Engineer: Peter Brett Associates
Planning Consultant: DPP Planning
Employer's Agent, Cost Consultant: Potter Raper Associates

Project Update

Having achieved a unanimous resolution to grant from the London Borough of Harrow Planning Committee, the project is awaiting Stage 2 referred permission from the GLA before Phase 01 starts on site in 2019.

The bigger picture

Our approach developed from an holistic understanding of the surrounding context and seeks to heal historic scars through a contextually driven masterplan driven by the principles of Building for Life guide that will create a sustainable new community.

Consultation

A key element of the project has been the involvement of the current estate residents. The design team consulted intensively with the residents’ steering group and wider community throughout the design process through a varied series of engagement events, incorporating their feedback into the design of the new homes.

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