John Pardey Architects has submitted plans to build 56 homes on a former garden centre site in the village of Alfold, Surrey
Inspired by the local rural vernacular, the scheme for Q-Developments has been designed around a village green ’framed by a network of lanes and paths’.
The practice said the buildings would have black window frames and feature red-orange brick and plain tiles typical of the area, ‘creating a contemporary character that sits comfortably in the Surrey landscape’.
A previous application to Waverley Borough Council for 27 homes on the the southern part of the plot was refused by the planning committee and the latest plans have been met with opposition from local residents and the parish council, which claims the development is too large and intensive.
However, reviewers from design support network Design South East praised the proposal, saying it had ’many attributes that could make it an exemplary housing scheme’, adding: ’We are supportive of the structure and the layout of the streets and blocks and the way that the development picks up key walking and desire lines in an attempt to knit this development into the fabric of Alfold village as it expands to accommodate new homes.’
A timescale for the plans, which includes 17 affordable homes, is not yet known.
Observation and analysis of local Surrey villages revealed logical growth patterns evolving along and at the meeting of country lanes. Our proposal sought to evoke this pattern of growth focused around a ‘village green’ and framed by a network of lanes and paths, creating improved links to the historic village and allowing for future connections.
As with many of the surrounding villages, the narrow lanes are shared by pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. Simple robust landscaping edged with dished cobbled drains, native hedging and low brick walls encourage slow vehicle speeds and safe spaces for all to enjoy.
Similarly, the proposed building forms echo the simple and adaptable houses, barns and outbuildings that constitute villages across the county – simple forms with dimensions dictated by the maximum span of available timber. A common building depth and varying length creates a consistent grain of terraces of smaller houses and larger detached houses and apartment buildings. The orientation and building line of houses is also varied reflecting the grain of local villages, where consideration of access to land and orientation for growing vegetables often took priority over ‘conventional’ street alignment.
Outbuildings, originally for livestock and farming equipment, are another prominent feature of local villages. Garages with loft space are the ‘outbuildings’ on the scheme, allowing passive surveillance of public areas and intended for uses such as homeworking, teenage hideouts or gyms.
Large, bold openings, black window frames and stained timber combine with the red-orange brick and plain tiles typical of the area creating a contemporary character that sits comfortably in the Surrey landscape.
1 birdesye from west
The former garden nursery is a sustainable location for helping meet housing targets and support and grow village amenities. The village green at the heart of the scheme is one of many familiar village features that create the opportunities for meeting and interaction and will encourage a coherent and sustainable community to grow.
Loft spaces over garages are ideal for homeworking and will also support a sense of community through increased daytime inhabitation of the development.
Hedgerows are the most widespread semi-natural habitat in England. Hedgerows are a crucial factor in the existence of many plants and animals – many declining species rely on hedges to survive. As well as tree planting and a wildlife corridor over 2km of native hedging will be planted along the site boundary, between plots and along house frontages.
ASHP with a strong fabric-first approach will lead to a 48 per cent total energy reduction over the baseline figure
The additional units justify much needed reinforcement and upgrading of infrastructure including foul drainage. The site doesn’t have access to the gas network requiring an alternative strategy for heating and hot water. Mesh Energy identified Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) as the most appropriate renewable technology, which, married with a strong fabric-first approach will lead to a 48 per cent total energy reduction over the baseline figure. As we move away from fossil fuels, ASHP will become an important technology for such schemes.
Brick, clay tiles and timber cladding are the prevalent historic building materials in area. As well as providing an obvious means of harmonising with the local building stock, these materials offer a sustainable palette with proven longevity. Combining these traditional materials with the clean lines of high-performance window systems offers a compelling and timeless character.
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Location Alfold, Surrey
Type of project Rural housing
Architect John Pardey Architects
Landscape architect Allen Pyke
Planning consultant Plan-it
Energy Mesh Energy
Drainage Infrastructure Design
Number of dwellings 56 homes (including 17 designated ‘affordable’)
Layout 2nd d se