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Bell Phillips gets green light for council-backed Swanley town centre scheme

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Bell Phillips Architects is to create 17 homes and a business hub on the site of a former drop-in centre for the elderly after securing approval for the Kent scheme

Sevenoaks District Council’s development control committee granted planning permission last month for the local authority’s own project at 27-37 High Street in Swanley.

Once used as council offices, and more recently used by Age Concern for a variety of purposes, a two-and-a-half-storey building on the site is currently disused.

Under the London practice’s proposals, this property will be demolished and replaced with a three-storey L-shaped building containing a business hub at ground level and apartments above.

Swanley Town Council objected to the scheme, saying its provision of nine vehicle parking spaces was insufficient. But Sevenoaks District Council’s chief planning officer said the approach taken by the applicant was ‘entirely consistent with government guidance and local plan policy’. They added that the site was walking distance to buses, trains and shops.

A report submitted alongside the application said no affordable housing was viable within the scheme and that this was verified by independent consultants.

The chief planning officer said that although the proposed building would be 1m taller than its immediate neighbours, it had been ‘carefully designed to reflect the vertical rhythm of the street scene’.

‘The relationship between the hard brick and softer glazing, and careful positioning of the entrances and balconies, helps define this,’ they concluded. ’In light of these factors, I consider the height of the building to be acceptable.

‘The proposed development would include the provision of an appropriate mix of new residential units in a sustainable town-centre location that would contribute to the district’s housing stock,’ concluded the planning officer.

Bell Phillips said a garden behind the building would be shared by residents and commercial tenants to foster a sense of community. ‘The landscaped space will be a place for casual interactions, a point of overlap, a shaded space to sit and relax,’ said the practice.

‘From afar, the main High Street elevation will be defined predominantly by the balcony elements and textured buff brick. Up close, a rich layering of materials will become evident, with the buff brick used in soldier courses to reinforce the façade’s horizontality. Glazed bricks will add further visual interest, articulating entrances and the openings of the deep balconies.

’The metal fins and perforated aluminium panels applied to balconies will help to mediate between the white brick base and the lightweight set-back on the top floor.’

Bell Phillips Architects' Swanley High Street scheme will feature a business hub

Bell Phillips Architects’ Swanley High Street scheme will feature a business hub

Bell Phillips Architects’ Swanley High Street scheme will feature a business hub

Project data

Client Sevenoaks District Council
Architect Bell Phillips Architects
Structural/civil engineer Morph Structures
MEP engineer XCO2
Sustainability consultant XCO2
BREEAM consultant XCO2
Daylight consultant GIA Surveys
Topographical surveys Laser Surveys
Transport consultant RGP
Acoustic consultant Hann Tucker Associates
Cost consultant Appleyard and Trew

Bell Phillips Architects' Swanley High Street scheme - northeast elevation bay study

Bell Phillips Architects’ Swanley High Street scheme - northeast elevation bay study

Bell Phillips Architects’ Swanley High Street scheme - northeast elevation bay study

 

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