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Folkestone Flatiron: Kent practice's mixed-use scheme approved

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Ansham Associates’ plans for a wedge-shaped housing scheme inspired by Folkestone’s railway viaduct has been granted planning approval

The Kent-based practice won permission last month from Folkestone and Hythe District Council for the four-storey scheme on Manor Road, comprised of two linked buildings.

The scheme for Flatiron Property Maintenance & Developments includes seven homes and ground floor commercial uses alongside a fifth-floor roof garden offering ’glimpses of the English Channel’.

The northern building would be five storeys plus a roof terrace while the southern building has four main storeys with a further two storeys above to provide access to the upper floors of the northern building. It also features a green wall.

Project architect Shyam Patel said the triangular site provided the chance to design a building that would look ‘impossibly thin’ from the northern approach and that it had drawn ‘inevitable’ comparisons to New York’s Flatiron building.

But Patel said it was actually plans for Grimshaw’s never-built Minerva Tower that had inspired his design as his first job as an architect was working on the scheme that would later replace it.

‘The one Grimshaw didn’t build was the one that got away,’ he said. ‘It would have been an incredibly elegant structure that tricked you into thinking it was paper thin. Not many sites can accommodate a building like this; it’s been fun.’

Patel added that the scheme also references Folkestone’s railway viaduct, which has been the tallest brick arched viaduct in the world since its construction in 1843.

Folkestone Town Council raised objections to the scheme on the grounds of its ‘modern and unsympathetic design’, but the district council planners disagreed, describing it as a ‘landmark’ development for the site.  

Cgi 3

Cgi 3

Project data

Location Manor Road and Cheriton Gardens, Folkestone, Kent.
Local authority Folkestone and Hythe District Council.
Type of project Mixed Use
Client Flatiron Property Maintenance and Development
Architect Ansham Associates 
Landscape architect Ansham Associates
Planning consultant Ansham Associates 
Structural engineer Neil Smith Associates 
Energy consultant Energy Test
CDM adviser HASPOD
Contract duration 15 months
Form of contract and/or procurement Traditional


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