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AHR's £25m police training centre ravaged by CABE

Abbey Holford Rowe remains committed to its design for a police training centre in Harrogate despite damning criticism from CABE.

The design review committee said the £25 million project fell short of the standard for public buildings and called for fundamental changes to the scheme before it is allowed to go ahead. It criticised the lack of engagement of the scheme with its setting, the 'rigid planning' of the buildings, the lack of interaction between the buildings and the spaces between them, and the quality of the accommodation for the centre's 432 police cadets. 'We recognise that this scheme is the result of a considerable amount of thought - unfortunately, we cannot regard the results of this as a success, ' it concluded.

But although AHR has made minor changes following its presentation to CABE, it remains adamant that the proposed building responds to the specific requirements set out by the client.

Partner Gareth Abbott said: 'AHR is disappointed that CABE has chosen to criticise the design approach but has been reassured by the client that it fully satisfies and, indeed, enhances their brief.'

Since the project is a Crown development, the local planning authority will make recommendations on the scheme, with the final decision made by the Home Office.

But CABE has urged that the scheme should not go ahead without the approval of the local authority and has appealed for a continuing dialogue 'with the aim of improving the scheme'.

... as panel slams Broadway Malyan's Meridian Gateway

CABE has condemned Broadway Malyan's £125 million scheme for Meridian Gateway as overdeveloped and ill-considered. Although the committee restated its commitment to a mixeduse, high-density development on the 2.45ha site at Deptford Creek, it said the current planning application proposes 'more development than the site can reasonably take'.

The scheme comprises three buildings, two of which are residential and one of which is an office building. The residential buildings range from nine to 14 floors. The panel felt the buildings were too large and the architecture 'overarticulated'. And it called for a development that is 'calmer, more straightforward, smaller in scale and better integrated with the patterns of movement'.

Director of Broadway Malyan Peter Vaughan said he was disappointed about CABE's comments but that he would be taking his lead from Lewisham and Greenwich councils: 'They (CABE) don't understand the regeneration potential of the area.'

...and Arup's Shell centre comes under attack again....

Arup Associates' changes to its design for the Shell Centre in London have introduced a whole new set of problems, CABE's design review committee believes. CABE has seen the £200 million scheme twice already and the latest changes come in response to its earlier confidential comments. But while the committee reiterated its support 'in principle' for the key aspects of the development, it called recent revisions 'unhelpful'.

The project consists mainly of office space, but includes shops, bars and restaurants. There are also proposals to link Waterloo Tube station to the project, possibly rebranding it as Waterloo South Bank.

Of primary concern to the design review committee was the removal of a continuous first-floor pedestrian route across the site. The resulting project now feels incoherent and 'cluttered'. However, there have also been a number of significant improvements to the scheme including the widening of the pavement in front of the podium building and improved access to the Underground station.

A spokesperson for Shell said the company would be liasing with Lambeth council to address some of the committee's comments.

...but thumbs-up for RHWL, Barton Willmore and Urbed

Three other significant schemes reviewed by CABE have all met with approval. The committee welcomed the progress made by RHWL Architects in the development of its mixed-use scheme on the former P&O site at King's Cross. In particular, it praised improvements to the traffic arrangements, which it said would prove to be a 'huge boon' to the scheme and wider area. But it expressed reservations about detailing, in particular the use of expanses of curtain walling in some buildings.

The committee found 'much to commend' in Barton Willmore's masterplan for West Stevenage, in particular the incorporation of high-density layouts and sustainability in the predominantly residential scheme. However, it called for more consideration of landscaping, the mix of different buildings on the site and links with the wider area.

And it praised Urbed and John Rowland Urban Design's plans for the Temple Quay North area of Bristol which will create a new quarter with a 'distinct character', the committee concluded. It welcomed the layout of the mixed-use development comprising offices, commercial units, leisure facilities, 500 residential units, retail and community uses.

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