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New Cross City: PRP tests Rogers' urban vision

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prp Architects has today launched what it calls a 'visionary and radical masterplan' for the New Cross area of London in a bid to demonstrate how the principles of Lord Rogers' Urban Task Force report can be applied in practice.

The 'prototype' scheme - called New Cross City - has been put together for the Hyde Housing Association by prp and engineers Alan Baxter & Associates. The 30ha scheme involves a comprehensive regeneration of the run-down area, emphasising principles of sustainability, low car use, and mixed uses and tenures. Only by taking up such schemes - declaring New Cross an Urban Priority Zone as defined in the Rogers report could be a start - can the Government begin to tackle its targets of 60 per cent brownfield development for new housing, say the architects. And only by adopting such masterplans, they add, can the much-trumpeted requirement of 4.4 million new homes be tackled.

The notional scheme is 'a blueprint of how things could be' and promises 'a new heart for New Cross' in a leaflet on the proposals being sent to the public for their views. The masterplan includes: a virtually car-free environment with 'superb' public transport links and delivery services; a new town square, central park and high street; 100,000m2 of employment, retail and leisure uses, and 3600 new homes in a mix of urban forms and without segregation between tenure types. Each home would have Internet services and swipe-card entry for security and all have been designed to overlook parks or green areas. And prp has designed the high-density scheme so each home is within five minutes' walk of tube or train and 10 minutes from shops, schools, basic healthcare, sports facilities etc. Crucially, the plan envisages a management company jointly owned by a social landlord, local authority, local businesses, Goldsmiths College and residents. This would look after housing management, selling properties, street cleaning, maintenance and repairs, local roads, parking, lighting and dealing with anti-social behaviour. The architects have not costed the proposals but make a guess at £600 million, which they project would come from private and public sources.

PRP architect Barry Munday said: 'We've done it as a stimulus to the debate, to test out Rogers and encourage central government to think about the implications. Our worry is that the Urban White Paper, which keeps getting delayed, is going to water down the Task Force findings. This is acting as a stimulus.'

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