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Revised Chelsea Barracks plan wins CABE backing

The Dixon Jones, Squire & Partners and Kim Wilkie-designed Chelsea Barracks masterplan has received a positive design review CABE

The report praised the ‘clarity’ of the scheme which replaces Richard Rogers controversially scrapped £3 billion vision for the 5.2 hectare site in west London.

Designed to mimic the capital’s ‘traditional’ street layouts, the masterplan features squares and communal gardens linked together via avenues and tree-lined ‘vistas’.

Concerns were however raised over the site’s relationship with its neighbouring context.

The report said: ‘The proposal needs to be more flexible in places where the formalism of the scheme meets the more varied surrounding context in which it sits.’

With regards to the masterplan’s attempt to effectively mimic historic precedents, the report said: ‘While the proposed squares are spacious in plan, we think that the height of the buildings could be problematic, particularly in relation to overshadowing issues in the inner courtyards.

‘Keeping these courtyards free from ramps to the basement car park is a good move.’

While applauding Chelsea Barrack’s ‘thoughtful design process’ and ‘quality proposal’, CABE reviewers stressed the masterplan must ‘evolve’ over time.

The commission’s report explained: ‘We now encourage the team to develop a strategy for Chelsea Barracks which allows the development to adapt to the needs of the 21st century.’

The revised design for the prime west London site features a design code and design guide aimed at shaping the outcome of the development’s later stages.

This week the Mayor of London also welcomed the proposal but asked for more clarity on its detail.

A letter said: ‘A tightening of the design code is needed to set out that articulation and/or greening should take place of the mews flank wall to Garrison Square and indicative unit layout plans should be provided.’

In December developer Qatari Diar submitted to Westminster Council its formal outline planning application for the revised masterplan.

Dixon Jones, Squire & Partners and Kim Wilkie Associates were appointed to replace a £3 billion design by Rogers’ which was shelved in the summer of 2009 following intervention by the Prince of Wales.

The new scheme is designed around a central avenue with traditionally-planned ‘London squares’. The project features 2 hectares of public space plus allotments.

One third of the total maximum of 363 residential units on site will be affordable, while further social housing will be built elsewhere within the London borough.

The planning application is expected to go before the council this summer.


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