Residential scheme, West London

In 2021, a private developer approached us to carry out the feasibility design for a sliver of disused, wooded and overgrown land adjacent to a railway. Our work necessitated extensive discussions with several bodies, especially the Local Authority. The proposals have been taken forward to a full planning application.

The site was particularly difficult, with unique challenges. A former railway siding, it is 351 metres long and 34 metres wide, narrowing to just 10 metres at the only potential vehicle access point. The original railway lines were on an embankment, which meant there was a cross fall on the site of up to 4.5 metres. The adjacent railway placed a five-metre-wide building restriction line along the southern boundary. While the land is overgrown, there are good quality trees on site, which the proposed scheme retains. The site provides several ecological habitats and has significant potential in terms of creating a ‘wild’, natural feel.

The proposals are for 37 apartments of mixed tenure within three separate blocks. The design concept is to retain the wooded nature of the site, with three distinct apartment pavilions separated by landscape elements and connected with a shared surface access.

The proposed superstructure construction is of cross-laminated timber, which is carbon-negative and will reduce the construction period. Selected for the scheme are low-maintenance, sustainable materials which reflect the natural character of the site and are sympathetic to the local character, such as brick, timber boarding and metal cladding. Roofs will incorporate bio-solar systems, with extensive planting. Photovoltaics and air-source heat pumps contribute to low energy-use targets.