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Enfield Council: ‘Success is based on the quality of design’

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Peter George, programme director at Enfield Council, outlines plans to create 5,000 new homes at Meridian Water in north London

What is your role on the Meridian Water Housing Zone Initiative?
I am leading on all aspects of the Meridian Water Housing Zone Initiative and also head up a team of experienced regeneration professionals responsible for different elements of the project.

What is the council’s vision for the district?
Meridian Water will accommodate more than 5,000 new homes; employment uses supplying 3,000 new jobs; and leisure, culture and entertainment uses which draw people to live, work and socialise in the area. Affordable housing is seriously undersupplied across London and major projects like Meridian Water have an important role to play in meeting this demand. Despite challenging financial viability issues Meridian Water will strive to achieve a higher level of affordable housing than the low levels achieved elsewhere.

LDA Design's Meridian Water proposals - birdseye view (May 2012)

How are you recruiting architects for the current stages?
We are recruiting architects and landscape architects though a single-stage OJEU procurement process. We chose OJEU rather than a framework because we wanted to open up the opportunity up to all of the very best architectural practices. The invitation to tender also seeks a number of smaller practices for up to 20 per cent of the value of the architectural work because the council believes smaller practices have a lot of creativity to contribute but they can often be excluded from larger opportunities.

What further opportunities will there be for architects in the future?
There will be opportunities for architects to work for developers and housing associations contracted to deliver Meridian Water and the council may commission additional work using a framework. 

How will you maintain design quality throughout the project?
Meridian Water’s success will be entirely contingent upon the quality of its design. The built form and the public realm are of equal importance to the creation of successful places which is why they are given equal prominence within the invitation to tender. This brief envisages that the successful architectural practices will be employed for the project’s duration. 

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