The Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) is seeking a masterplanner for a 125ha high-density site
The team selected for the estimated £550,000 contract will draw up high-level plans for a new mixed-use area, Ebbsfleet Central, to be the centrepiece of the emerging Ebbsfleet Garden City in north Kent, where 15,000 new homes and 30,000 new jobs are expected by 2035.
The commission focuses on a large brownfield plot surrounding Ebbsfleet International railway station (pictured) which will feature a mix of commercial and residential development alongside cultural and leisure facilities including parks and green spaces. The government’s £34 million acquisition of the site was announced by housing minister Esther McVey in October.
In its brief, the corporation says the masterplan ‘must be capable of securing a high-quality, outstanding mixed-use development which provides flexibility for innovation and changing circumstances as the development is delivered by the private sector over the next 15-20 years. This wide-ranging role will require significant collaboration with EDC teams and board members, a wide range of stakeholders, local communities, local authorities and the wider consultant team we are assembling for the Ebbsfleet Central site.
‘The form of the masterplan is envisaged to identify key spatial priority areas and strategic links which are essential to delivering a successful development. EDC do not wish to develop a detailed or prescriptive masterplan which could stifle future detailed area masterplans for the wider site and each phase of development. The masterplan should provide a framework of key design principles and opportunity areas, informing the maximum quantum of development and parameter plans and promoting future innovation and flexibility.’
Ebbsfleet Garden City is being built on the site of a former quarry and other nearby brownfield sites next to the M2 motorway and Ebbsfleet International railway station. Up to 15,000 new homes and 30,000 jobs are planned for the site.
The Ebbsfleet Development Corporation was created by the government in 2015 to speed up the delivery of a large-scale residential district featuring commercial, educational, research and leisure uses. It is set to include seven parks and 192ha of blue and green infrastructure.
Ebbsfleet Central is one of five neighbourhoods planned for the emerging city, which will be situated between the existing communities of Northfleet, Swanscombe and Greenhithe. The other neighbourhoods are Northfleet Riverside, Eastern Quarry and Ebbsfleet Garden and Swanscombe Peninsula.
The winning team will receive £300,000 to draw up a high-level strategic masterplan. If this is approved at planning stage, the team will then receive a further £50,000 every year for five years during the project’s development.
Maccreanor Lavington and AECOM were selected to create an overall masterplan for the 1,026ha settlement five years ago.
In 2018, a team featuring JTP won a competition organised by the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation for ideas to boost healthy living in the new city. Lee Evans Partnership won planning for a new pub and hotel within the Castle Hill area of Ebbsfleet Garden City development in December and the project is planned to complete in 2021.
The deadline for applications is midday, 7 February.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
Ebbsfleet Development Corporation
Castle Hill Drive
Ian Piper, chief executive EDC
What is your vision for the new Ebbsfleet Central neighbourhood?
Ebbsfleet Central is a key component of the Ebbsfleet Garden City and the vision is to deliver the heart of the garden city, providing a range of jobs, homes, community and cultural facilities. The aspirations are to produce a high-density mixed-use scheme, which compliments the existing development within the garden city and surrounding areas and makes the most of the strategic location of the site.
The Ebbsfleet Central site covers an area of approximately 125ha of land, focused around the international railway station and includes a range of existing land uses including car parking for the station. The site has a huge range of opportunities and some complex constraints, for example the incorporation of station car parking into the masterplan. Given the character and complex nature of the site it will require an innovative design response.
EDC are committed to delivering the highest quality of development within the garden city and given its location and prominence, Ebbsfleet Central plays a hugely important role in this. The design of the development must be innovative, cutting edge and provide flexibility to meet future demands, changes in construction methods and evolving sustainable technologies.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
EDC has chosen to undertake a full OJEU tender process for this project to allow for a wide range of practices to be able to bid for this work. We encourage practices of all sizes to apply for this exciting opportunity to shape the future and legacy of Ebbsfleet Garden City, the focus for us is on talent, innovative thinking and collaboration.
EDC have not imposed any criteria for international firms and encourage any interested firms registered in the EU to consider submitting a bid for this opportunity.
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?
For the Ebbsfleet Central project our focus at this stage and in coming years is to progress the planning application, complete commercial negotiations and identify potential development partners to enable the delivery of the development. In due course this will result in the need for more detailed design of each phase of development, greenspaces and key landmark buildings.