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Housing standards:

evidence and research

Applying housing standards:

London case studies

A report prepared by CABE with the assistance of Richards Partington Architects in May 2010.

London case studies A report prepared by CABE with the assistance of Richards Partington Architects in

CONTENTS

1

Introduction

Page 1

2

City Quarter

Page 2

3

Church Street

Page 7

4

Barking Riverside

Page 12

5

Mortimer Road

Page 13

6

Curwen Apartments

Page 15

A1

Appendix 1 – Compliant Typologies

Page 16

A2

Appendix 2 – Further Details on Sites

Page 19

1. INTRODUCTION, SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY

This technical paper presents the findings of CABE’s research into the capacity implications of applying minimum housing standards, developed in the context of proposals being advanced by the Mayor of London and which will be the subject of an examination in public (EIP) in July 2010.

This report was prepared by CABE with the assistance of Richards Partington Architects. It is a useful background document to inform CABE and others thinking on the implementation of minimum housing standards.

The purpose in preparing the technical paper was to:-

1. Consider design solutions (in schematic form) which are compliant with the proposed housing standards contained within the London Housing Design Guide (LHDG) 1 ;

2. Deliver housing capacity (i.e. unit numbers) in line with existing density policies within the London Plan 2 .

1 London Housing Design Guide, Mayor of London, July 2009 Consultation Version

2 As contained in the density matrix within London Plan (Feb 2008) Policy 3A.3 / Draft replacement London Plan (Oct 2009) Policy 3.4

Five sites in London have been used, drawing on housing sites which have been prominent in key parts of London. Information relating to the existing proposed schemes on these sites are in the public domain as they have all been the subject of planning applications. Further details of the sites are shown in Appendix 2.

It is noted that the brief of this work was not to deliver housing capacity in line with any existing scheme on the five sites. Rather, we considered that our work would be more robust if the schematic design solutions were developed to comply with housing density policies within the London Plan 3 .

The

follows:-

methodology

for

this

work

was

as

1. An analysis of the existing proposals on site and undertaking an assessment of the schemes against the LHDG to identify significant areas of non- compliance 4 .

3 This work is for comparison and discussion purposes only, with the schematic designs being theoretical assessments and not necessarily schemes for which planning permission would be granted. This is because a full analysis of each site (i.e. in relation to matters such as overlooking, etc.) has not been undertaken.

non-

compliance is not a criticism of the existing proposal on each site, as the requirements within the LHDG were not a factor in their original design.

4

It

should be

noted that any areas of

Significant non-compliance was defined as a problem requiring alterations that would require changes to the overall size of dwellings, and the overall configuration of

the buildings.

2. Problems that could be addressed through, for example, the rebalancing of internal areas were not considered significant. Bearing in mind these problems and the London Plan density matrix, alternative proposals were drawn up for each non-compliant scheme.

A range of standard LHDG compliant

designs were developed and are illustrated

in Appendix 1. These helped make the

process of designing schemes for each site more efficient.

The five sites considered are set out below.

SITE

BOROUGH

City Quarter

Tower Hamlets

Church Street

Newham

Barking Riverside

Barking & Dagenham

Mortimer Road

Brent

Curwen Apartments

Newham

The purpose of identifying areas of non- compliance retrospectively is simply to enhance the understanding of the impacts of the LHDGs requirements.

2. CITY QUARTER

Analysis of the Current Proposal

City Quarter in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets is a 0.25 hectare site on the eastern fringe of the City of London. The site has the highest level of accessibility (PTAL 6b). The site is part of the wider redevelopment of Goodman’s Fields. The part of the project considered here comprises the conversion of a listed commercial building, The Sugar House, and the construction of a new-build apartment building alongside.

The current proposals have a density of 348 units per hectare. This is within the 215-405 units per hectare range set by the London Plan density matrix.

In both buildings there are a significant number of units that fail to achieve the overall sizes required by the LHDG. Consequently, many of the internal rooms are also too small. Many of the apartments do not achieve the dual aspect requirement.

Many of the apartments do not achieve the dual aspect requirement. FIGURE 1 - CITY QUARTER

FIGURE 1 - CITY QUARTER EXISTING SITE AND PROPOSAL

Many of the apartments do not achieve the dual aspect requirement. FIGURE 1 - CITY QUARTER

Analysis of the Current Proposal

The drawings on the right show for the typical floors in both building, those units that do not meet the LHDG requirements relating to dual aspect or minimum floor area. A significant number of units fail to meet the minimum sizes and a small number of single aspect 1-bedroom units are north facing and therefore do not meet the requirements.

Within the Sugar House the constraints of the existing structure are responsible for the undersizing of three out of the four affected units. Both buildings comply with the requirement for no more than 8 units per floor to be served by a single stair core.

FIGURE 2 - EXISTING PROPOSAL SHOWING UNITS NOT MEETING KEY LHDG REQUIREMENTS

PROPOSAL SHOWING UN ITS NOT MEETING KEY LHDG REQUIREMENTS Top – Hooper’s Yard typical floor Below

Top – Hooper’s Yard typical floor Below – Sugar House typical floor

Analysis of the Current Proposal

The drawings on the right show for the typical floors in both building, those rooms within dwellings that do not meet the minimum space standards.

Typically, where units are undersized overall there is a consequential shortfall in the sizes of bedrooms and living areas. In a few situations, the living area appears to be disproportionately large at the expense of the bedrooms and thus a rebalancing of the internal layout would be possible to bring the design into compliance with the LHDG.

It also shows those units that have no or insufficient private outdoor space. In the case of the Sugar House, it is clear that its listed façade is one of the reasons why outdoor space has not been provided to some apartments. In other cases, however, the provision that exists is simply insufficient to meet the requirements.

FIGURE 3 - EXISTING PROPOSAL SHOWING UNITS NOT MEETING KEY LHDG REQUIREMENTS

PROPOSAL SHOWING UN ITS NOT MEETING KEY LHDG REQUIREMENTS Top – Hooper’s Yard typical floor Below

Top – Hooper’s Yard typical floor Below – Sugar House typical floor

Compliant Proposals

The London Plan Density Matrix range of 215-405 units per hectare translates into a range of 54 101 units for this site. Within the new-build Hooper’s Yard a reconfiguration of the layout allows all units to meet the LHDG (see left). Within the existing Sugar House building some improvement is possible but the constraints of the structure mean that some units are too small to qualify as 1- bedroom flats. Because of listed building status some units do not have the required external space provision.

Unit Mix

24

x 2-bed, 4-person flats

18

x 2-bed, 3-person flats

36

x 1-bedroom flats

12

x studios (less than 50m2)

TOTAL UNITS - 90

Note: The figures above are based on the assumption that all floors have the same

layout, since full floor unavailable.

plans were

FIGURE 4- HOOPER’S YARD TYPICAL FLOORPLAN - LHDG COMPLIANT DESIGN

layout, since full floor unavailable. plans were FIGURE 4- HOOPER’S YARD TYPICAL FLOORPLAN - LHDG COMPLIANT

Compliant Proposals

Working within the listed existing structure of the Sugar House imposes certain constraints that make it difficult to fully comply with the LHDG. Despite the difficulties it is possible to bring several of the undersized apartments into compliance.

However, in two instances it is not possible to enlarge the flats sufficiently to become 1- bedroom flats and must therefore be classed as studios. Due to the need to preserve the outward appearance of the building it is not possible to provide balconies on the street side. Therefore, four of the flats do not have any outdoor space provision. However, for the other three, it is possible to provide larger balconies on the courtyard side in line with the LHDG requirement.

FIGURE 5 - SUGAR HOUSE TYPICAL FLOOR - LHDG COMPLIANT DESIGN

on the courtyard side in line with the LHDG requirement. FIGURE 5 - SUGAR HOUSE TYPICAL

3. CHURCH STREET

Analysis of the Current Proposal

Church Street, Plaistow is a 0.2 hectare site in a mixed urban setting in East London. The site has a high level of accessibility:

PTAL 4.

The current proposals have a density of 264 units per hectare. This is slightly above the 70-260 units per hectare range set by the London Plan Density Matrix.

The accommodation is divided between two buildings. The building at the rear of the site complies with most aspects of the LHDG although there are some rooms that do not achieve the minimum required widths.

The building at the front of the site is more problematic, as it contains a significant number of single aspect flats including several north facing one-bedroom apartments.

Generally, most units lack the necessary provision of external space.

most units lack the necessary provision of external space. FIGURE 6 - CHURCH STREET EXISTING SITE

FIGURE 6 - CHURCH STREET EXISTING SITE AND PROPOSAL

most units lack the necessary provision of external space. FIGURE 6 - CHURCH STREET EXISTING SITE

Analysis of the Current Proposal

The drawings on the right show for the ground floor and a typical upper floor, those units that do not meet the LHDG requirements relating to dual aspect.

It should also be noted that the building at the front of the site facing onto Church Street has more than 25 dwellings served from a single lift.

Whilst an additional lift in these situations is not a mandatory requirement of the LHDG, it is recommended.

FIGURE 7 - EXISTING UNITS NOT MEETING KEY LHDG REQUIREMENTS

FIGURE 7 - EXISTING UNITS NOT MEETING KEY LHDG REQUIREMENTS LEFT – Ground Floor / RIGHT

LEFT – Ground Floor / RIGHT – Typical Upper Floor

Compliant Proposals

The drawings on the right show for the ground floor and a typical upper floor, those rooms within dwellings that do not meet the minimum space standards.

It also shows those units that have no or insufficient private outdoor space.

Despite these shortcomings, all dwellings do at least appear to meet the overall areas required by the LHDG.

FIGURE 8 - EXISTING UNITS NOT MEETING KEY LHDG REQUIREMENTS

LHDG. FIGURE 8 - EXISTING UNITS NOT MEETING KEY LHDG REQUIREMENTS LEFT – Ground Floor /

LEFT – Ground Floor / RIGHT – Typical Upper Floor

Compliant Proposals

The London Density Matrix range of 70-260 units per hectare translates into a range of 15-54 units for this site.

The study shows that a range of units sizes can be provided on the site that comply both with the LHDG and the London Density Matrix. The proposed building would have 5 storeys, as per the existing proposals.

Unit Mix

4

x 4-bedroom duplex

9

x 3-bedroom flats

21

x 2-bedrom flats

13

x 1-bedroom flats

TOTAL UNITS - 47

Note: The proposed unit mix achieves habitable rooms/ unit ratio of 3.36, which fed into the London Density Matrix results in revised maximum of 255 units/ha or 47 units.

FIGURE 9 - CHURCH STREET LHDG COMPLIANT DESIGN

or 47 units. FIGURE 9 - CHURCH STREET LHDG COMPLIANT DESIGN FAR LEFT – Ground Floor

FAR LEFT – Ground Floor ABOVE RIGHT – Building Massing Before BELOW RIGHT – Building Massing After

FIGURE 10 - CHURCH STREET LHDG COMPLIANT DESIGN

FIGURE 10 - CHURCH STREET LHDG COMPLIANT DESIGN LEFT – Second Floor CENTRE – Third Floor

LEFT – Second Floor CENTRE – Third Floor RIGHT – Fourth Floor

4. BARKING RIVERSIDE

Analysis of the Current Proposal

Barking Riverside is a large development in the Thames Gateway. The site has a moderate level of accessibility: PTAL 2/3.

The BEBO block is one of the housing typologies that form part of the overall masterplan. Analysis of one of these blocks has shown that the number of units achieved falls within the 70-170 units per hectare range set by the London Density Matrix, equivalent to 167 units per hectare.

The analysis has identified that the design is largely compliant with the LHDG.

Importantly, the overall units sizes, open space provisions, floor to ceiling heights, access arrangements and dual aspect provisions are fully compliant. There are a few minor issues to do with room sizes that it was thought could be resolved without difficulty.

Consequently, alternative proposals were not developed for this site.

alternative proposals were not developed for this site. FIGURE 11 BARKING RIVERSIDE EXISTING SITE AND PROPOSAL

FIGURE 11 BARKING RIVERSIDE EXISTING SITE AND PROPOSAL

alternative proposals were not developed for this site. FIGURE 11 BARKING RIVERSIDE EXISTING SITE AND PROPOSAL
alternative proposals were not developed for this site. FIGURE 11 BARKING RIVERSIDE EXISTING SITE AND PROPOSAL

5. MORTIMER ROAD

Analysis of the Current Proposal

Mortimer Road, Brent is a 0.1 hectare site in a suburban setting of terraced houses. The site has a very high level of accessibility: PTAL 6a.

The current proposals for Mortimer Road, Brent have a density of 142 units per hectare. This is slightly above the 70-130 units per hectare range set by the London Plan Density Matrix.

The three storey building has two stair cores and contains 14 units. Some internal rooms failed to meet the required sizes and in particular the bedrooms are too narrow.

The portion of the site available for building appears to be constrained by the general building frontage line along the street and a right-of-light for an adjacent property. The height also appears constrained to three storeys.

an adjacent property. The height also appears constrained to three storeys. FIGURE 12 MORTIMER ROAD EXISTING
FIGURE 12 MORTIMER ROAD EXISTING SCHEME

FIGURE 12

MORTIMER ROAD

EXISTING SCHEME

FIGURE 12 MORTIMER ROAD EXISTING SCHEME

Compliant Proposals

FIGURE 13 - MORTIMER ROAD LHDG COMPLIANT DESIGN

The London Density Matrix range of 70-130 units per hectare translates into a range of 7- 13 units for this site. The study shows that a range of units sizes can be provided on the site that comply both with the LHDG and the London Plan Density Matrix.

   

OPTION 1

In both cases the proposed building would have 3 storeys. In option 1 there would be one stair core. In option 2 there would be two.

 

Option 1

6

x 3-bedroom flats

3

x 1-bedroom flat

TOTAL UNITS – 9

 
 

Option 2

  Option 2  
 

9

x 2-bedroom flats

3

x 1-bedroom flat

TOTAL UNITS – 12

OPTION 2

6. CURWEN APARTMENTS SCHEME

Analysis of the Current Proposal

Curwen Apartments, John Street, Stratford is a 0.6 hectare site in a mixed urban setting in East London. The site has a high level of accessibility: PTAL 4.

The current proposals have a density of 172 units per hectare. This is within the 70-260 units per hectare range set by the London Density Matrix. The analysis identified that the design was largely compliant with the LHDG.

Importantly, the overall units sizes, open space provisions, floor to ceiling heights, access arrangements and dual aspect provisions are fully compliant. There are a few minor issues to do with room sizes that it was thought could be resolved without difficulty.

Consequently, alternative proposals were not developed for this site.

alternative proposals were not developed for this site. FIGURE 14 - CURWEN APARTMENTS, JOHN STREET, EXISTING

FIGURE 14 - CURWEN APARTMENTS, JOHN STREET, EXISTING SCHEME

alternative proposals were not developed for this site. FIGURE 14 - CURWEN APARTMENTS, JOHN STREET, EXISTING

APPENDIX 1 – HOUSING TYPOLOLOGIES

To make the process of designing the case study sites more efficient, a range of different LHDG compliant building types were developed.

Example 1 shows buildings which approach the limit for the maximum allowable number of dwellings that can be accessed from each stair core, which is up to 8. These arrangements work best for stand-alone buildings and are less easily integrated into tight urban sites. The orientation of these blocks is important as the single-aspect 1- bedroom apartments cannot be north facing or within 45º of north.

is important as the single-aspect 1- bedroom apartments cannot be north facing or within 45º of
is important as the single-aspect 1- bedroom apartments cannot be north facing or within 45º of

EXAMPLE 1

Example 2 shows how two compact 2- bedroom units can be paried around a single core. The units are dual aspect and at 70m2 meet the minimum area set out in the LHDG. A 7m2 balcony is provided and there is 27m2 of living space. The block has a relatively shallow plan; only 9.5m and so is suitable for sites with limited depth. Multiple blocks can be joined together to form a continuous frontage. This type is particularly suitable for low-rise blocks as no lift is required if there are fewer than 4 floors.

Example 3 shows how three units can be paried around a single core. This type has the advantage of easily providing a range of unit sizes. The 2 and 3 bedroom apartments are dual aspect. The 1 bedroom apartment is single aspect and must therefore not face north. The block has a medium depth of 13.5m. Multiple blocks can be joined together to form a continuous frontage. Balconies are provided in accordance with the area requirements of the LHDG.

a continuous frontage. Balconies are provided in accordance with the area requirements of the LHDG. EXAMPLE

EXAMPLE 2

a continuous frontage. Balconies are provided in accordance with the area requirements of the LHDG. EXAMPLE

EXAMPLE 3

Example 4 shows how three units can be paried around a single core. This type has the advantage of easily providing a range of unit sizes. The 2 and 3 bedroom apartments are dual aspect. The 1 bedroom apartment is single aspect and must therefore not face north. The block has a medium depth of 13.5m. Multiple blocks can be joined together to form a continuous frontage. Balconies are provided in accordance with the area requirements of the LHDG.

to form a continuous frontage. Balconies are provided in accordance with the area requirements of the

EXAMPLE 4

APPENDIX 2 – FUTHER SITE DETAILS

The following information relates to the original schemes proposed for each of the sites considered in this technical paper. It is provided for information and for completeness.

SITE

BOROUGH

DEVELOPER

ARCHITECT

City Quarter, Leman Street

Tower Hamlets

Berkeley Homes

Sheppard Robson

Church Street

Newham

One Housing Group

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Barking Riverside

Barking & Dagenham

Homes & Communities Agency / Bellway

Barton Willmore (Agent)

Mortimer Road

Brent

Crossier Properties Ltd

Chassey Last Architects

Curwen Apartments, John Street

Newham

East Thames Group

Greenhill Jenner Architects