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What's the alternative?

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building study

There is no set formula for successful development. A look at the process behind some of PTE's other projects shows that flexibility is key to achieving results ST JUDE'S AND ST PAUL'S SCHOOL, LONDON N1 THE PROJECT A primary school and 24 apartments are contained in a single complex on an awkward triangular site in Islington bounded by a railway, a historic Jewish burial ground and a council estate. The new school consists of an in situ concrete classroom block containing seven south-facing classrooms which open onto a semi-covered garden space, and a steel-framed wing containing a large sports/assembly hall. There is also a roof garden, staff offices, library and playground. The apartments are built above the classrooms, providing a mix of one, two and three bedroom flats including two family-sized flats which are specifically designed for wheelchair users. The residential accommodation has a separate entrance from the school, and bedrooms and living areas face south in order to minimise the impact of noise both from the school and from the nearby railway line. The project has a construction cost of £4 million and is due for completion this month.

THE PROCESS PTE bought a site adjoining St Jude's and St Paul's Junior School to honour a Section 106 planning commitment to Islington council to provide social housing within the borough boundaries, linked to the Angel Waterside development. Since the school was struggling to run its operation from a substandard building and two different sites, PTE spent two years trying to find a way of pooling resources to use a single site to provide the necessary housing and improved amenities for the school.

PTE/Groveworld is the sole developer, acting as employer under one building contract, with PTE Architects as project architect. While the school received the enlarged site at a nominal cost well below market value, the flats have been bought by the ISHA Housing Association, also at a subsidised price.

CONNAUGHT GARDENS, LONDON N10 THE PROJECT The smallest project in PTE's portfolio, this project is for a contemporary terrace of seven four-bedroom townhouses on the footprint of a former building on a tranquil green site near Highgate Wood. The garden elevation is covered with timber shingles to reflect the woodland, and the lower ground floor living rooms open onto landscaped gardens to the rear. A large woodland garden to the end-of-terrace house protects the privacy of existing neighbours. The project is currently in for planning.

THE PROCESS PTE regularly scans auction catalogues, which is how it discovered that this site, close to the home of one of PTE's directors, was going to auction in November 2003. Having spent the weekend carrying out an appraisal on the site, PTE, with joint-venture partner Guild Developments, put in a successful bid on the following Monday, acquiring the site for £1.5 million.

OLD FORD ROAD, LONDON E3 THE PROJECT A previously contaminated industrial site next to the Hertford Union Canal and Victoria Park developed into a high-density development of five four-storey blocks, containing 92 homes, and a row of mews houses. In design terms, there is no distinction between the 37 units rented by tenants of nearby HAT estates and those which were sold on the open market - with first refusal and discounts for HAT residents. All of the homes have balconies or terraces and angled bay windows to catch the afternoon sun, and 90 per cent of them enjoy views of the canal and park. The project, which had a construction cost of £4.5 million, was completed in 2001.

THE PROCESS PTE responded to an open public competition held by one of its existing clients, the Tower Hamlets Housing Action Trust (THHAT), to select a development partner to design, finance and construct a project for a mixed-tenure housing scheme. PTE property was selected on the basis of a design and financial offer in partnership with Southern Housing Group. PTE steered and funded the project through a difficult planning process and up to the point of instigation of a multi-party development agreement. At this stage, with THHAT's agreement, it transferred its 'developer' interest to Berkeley Homes and continued as architect on the project.

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