Springfield Park Gets The Green Light

Following last night's Planning Committee Meeting at Maidstone Borough Council, Guy Hollaway Architects are thrilled to announce that the proposal for a new residential development of 310 units and associated public realm at Springfield Park, Maidstone has now been granted Full Planning Consent.

The proposed development will regenerate a brownfield and sustainable site that has been vacant for years since the demolition of the previous Kent County Council (KCC) offices. This proposed development is highly sustainable given its close proximity to Maidstone East Train Station and a walkable distance to the town centre. In collaboration with the full design team and the client, U+I Group Plc, the submitted scheme comprises of two new residential buildings with a mixture of 90 private units and 220 Build to Rent (BtR) units, varying from studio through to 3-bed flats. The design approach has been carefully considered to make best use of the site, whilst acknowledging and preserving the immediate surroundings and its rich historical context.

The natural context of the site is largely formed by the adjacent allotment gardens, an extensive group of protected trees and woodland areas, along with Whatman Park across River Medway. These surrounding green space influenced the design process, which became the basis for integrating the landscaping into the building. Both proposed buildings sit on a raised landscaped podium, allowing for a seamless view of greenery. This creates a relationship between the landscape, the roof garden, the green facades and the podium.

Taking into consideration the site context and its strategic location to Maidstone town centre, a private tower was deemed significant and viable for the site as it is accompanied by a horizontal building designed around the basis of Build to Rent (BtR). The taller 18 storey of the two buildings acts as a placemaker and seeks to represent Maidstone as a gateway that reflects the existing KCC library tower. With careful and conscientious consideration of the comfort and necessity of the occupants and its wider community, this proposal creates an atmospheric yet calming environment that epitomises quality and modern living.

GHA have made every effort and considered all measures to deliver a proposal of high architectural merit that is fit for its purpose being located at a prime location within the town of Maidstone. Materials were inspired by the site’s yesteryears and its surrounding environment, from the brick field to its local ragstone. Brick in shades of grey has been chosen as the primary material as it is the most appropriate finish in order to achieve a subtle urban and metropolitan feel. Brick facades establish the legibility of the buildings as being residential, creating a sense of longevity and robustness for its habitants. Two contrasting yet complimentary materials are proposed to break the linearity of Building B as half of its facade is cladded in brick slip and the other half in pre-oxidised brown copper cladding system.

The planning process has included two pre-application meetings with MBC planning officers, two briefing sessions with committee members and two public consultation events. This process has helped us to formulate the development brief and ensure that the scheme has evolved in order to address the key points raised by stakeholders and the community. This scheme boasts a unique correlation of Built to Rent (BtR) and Private Residential units that contributes to Maidstone’s housing demand and local economy with the highest quality of design, highly durable finish, low maintenance and outstanding building performance.

Published on 3 February 2017

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