Peabody has submitted plans by Proctor and Matthews Architects and Mecanoo for phase one of the multibillion-pound transformation of the 1960s Thamesmead estate in south-east London
A total of four planning applications have been submitted to the London Borough of Bexley, including detailed plans for a civic-led quarter (Southmere Village) and outline plans for three other development areas within the masterplan for 1,900 new first-phase homes. All four sites sit inside the boroughs of Bexley and Greenwich’s Thamesmead Housing Zones and will be served by the new Crossrail station at Abbey Wood which opens in December 2018.
Drawn up by design team leader Proctor and Matthews Architects and Mecanoo, the stage-one scheme runs from Southmere Lake to the north and Abbey Wood station to the south and includes more than 1,500 homes alongside around 10,000m2 of offices, shops, and leisure space.
The scheme addresses Harrow Manorway – a major road that creates a barrier at the edge of the site. A new, meandering pedestrian friendly route will be introduced through the development featuring four ‘character areas’.
The four design approaches
The project uses four principal design approaches to define the scheme and its character areas
- Southmere Lane
Designed as a linear neighbourhood focus which meanders across the existing urban grid, it acts as an anchor for a visually enriched townscape, and offers a safe and logical route for cyclists and pedestrians.
In a reinterpretation of late 19th century Peabody buildings, clusters of connected, differently-sized residential blocks will be grouped around raised shared courtyards, creating smaller communities within the larger whole and enlivened by active frontages with a mix of uses.
- Squares and specials
New squares including a lakeside civic square and smaller squares form neighbourhood focal points. ‘Specials’ buildings – such as a new Library or two ‘flatiron’ residential buildings – will be visible from a wide area and will be different in shape and height from the main ensembles.
- Connection to landscape
Southmere Lane will act as the main link to the landscape surrounding South Thamesmead, with smaller scale connections reinforcing the main pedestrian links.
The large civic quarter will be created on the edge of Southmere Lake and will contain 525 homes alongside new community, retail and leisure facilities set around a new public square.
According to the developer, this ‘emanates the qualities of a traditional European square or piazza’ and will create ‘an attractive environment that allows street life to thrive’.
The buildings surrounding the new square will mainly be clad in brick in response to local residents’ desire for the new buildings to contrast with the existing concrete of the 1960s estate.
Proctor and Matthews has also designed a new civic building, housing a library, nursery and gym, which will act as a social hub and focal point of the square.
As part of the wider scheme, the last remaining blocks of Thamesmead’s 1967 masterplan – the 13-storey Blewbury House and Tilehurst Point towers – will be retained in a new ’ensemble’ block designed by Mecanoo, alongside three later residential blocks and an NHS health centre.
The project is set to be delivered in four phases. Phase one – the civic quarter – is due to start on site in early 2017 and the final phase is expected to complete in 2021.
Thamesmead is a special part of London with huge potential for the future. The creation of 1,500 new homes and a new high street as part of the Abbey Wood and South Thamesmead Housing Zone, together with the arrival of Crossrail means we also have the opportunity to create hundreds of new jobs and attract new business. Peabody is committed to working with local residents to create the dynamic and thriving place where people aspire to live, work and visit.
We are particularly excited about the design quality of these proposals, and are proud that the plans have evolved from extensive conversations with people who live in South Thamesmead over the last two years.
Stephen Howlett, chief executive, Peabody
Stephen Proctor, director, Proctor and Matthews Architects
At Thamesmead it has been a privilege for Proctor and Matthews to be working as design team leader to lead a collaborative design team on such a significant scheme for London. By addressing a wide range of residential needs and restoring much needed community infrastructure, we hope South Thamesmead will be able to fulfill its potential as an attractive and successful neighbourhood quarter.
Francine Houben, creative director, Mecanoo
Using our 30 years’ experience in creating pleasant urban neighbourhoods, the plan for Thamesmead aims to reinstate a strong sense of community and introduces what Thamesmead needs first of all: good public space that is accessible for all. A new spine is created; a route connecting Abbey Wood’s future Crossrail station, Southmere Lake, the surrounding landscape, and the existing neighbourhoods. The new buildings and squares that define the new route will give Thamesmead the right human scale and identity.
Type of project mixed-use
Location Thamesmead, South East London
Lead architect Proctor and Matthews
Masterplan architect Proctor and Matthews with Mecanoo
Landscape architect Turkington Martin
Building services engineer Max Fordham
Structural, civil and transport engineer Peter Brett Associates
Percentage of affordable housing 45 per cent
Start on site 2017