Design watchdog CABE has given a general thumbs up to plans to densify Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ masterplan for the huge Kidbrooke Village scheme in south east London.
In October, developer Berkeley Homes submitted plans - in three separate detailed planning applications - to increase the number of homes proposed at the development from 4,000 to 4,782.
A design review report from CABE says that a good case could be made for the increase in units.
The report said: ‘We find many aspects of the proposed design successful and continue to believe that the development has the potential to become a thriving new sustainable neighbourhood.
‘We also commend the collaboration between different design teams to achieve a rich, diverse mixture of architectural approaches for a scheme of such scale.’
However, CABE warned that the design of a controversial residential tower within the scheme by Studio Egret West must be ‘outstanding’ because of its height.
This block was originally proposed to rise to 30 storeys but this was reduced to 25 storeys after a storm of protest from local campaign group the Blackheath Society.
The society remains unhappy because planning guidance for the area recommends a maximum height of 15 storeys.
CABE said that the height was acceptable but that ‘the design quality of this new landmark has to be outstanding’ as set out in guidance it produced on tall buildings with English Heritage.
‘The client needs to demonstrate that the impact of the extra height is not detrimental to the quality of Kidbrooke as a whole,’ the report added
The report also suggested changes to make the tower more of a focus including reducing the height of neighbouring buildings ‘in order to defer to the landmark tower’.
CABE added: ‘We find much to admire in the design of the tower, for example the gardens high up, the composition and the difference in character to the surrounding buildings.’
The report also called for a stronger landscape strategy for the scheme and warned planners at London Borough of Greenwich that they needed to ensure the impact of the larger scheme did not spoil the area or put unbearable pressure on local infrastructure.
‘The local planning authority needs to ensure that wind and daylight studies provide satisfactory results and that the new neighbourhood will be a pleasant place to live,’ the report said.
‘The idea of a village and the bucolic vision of living in nature are possibly misleading’
It also recommended that Berkeley drops the branding of the scheme as a ‘village’ to better convey the character of the development.
It said: ‘Given the centre’s function as the arrival hub of Kidbrooke and varied retail and community facilities in this location, the idea of a village and the bucolic vision of living in nature are possibly misleading.’
The practices responsible for the three phases assessed by CABE were Lifschutz Davidson, CZWG and Gardner Stewart.