Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Mendip District Council
Public Realm Architect
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Long straight boulevards traverse the scheme from north to south and terraces lead off at right angles to form the ‘grid’ of Georgian townscape. A pedestrian route through these terraces is offset so that (when the scheme is complete) people will glimpse where they are going but enjoy visual surprises as they make that journey.
The scheme’s origins coincided with Department for Transport’s ‘Manual for Streets’ guidance for spaces outside the home. What the publication preaches is so widely repeated here that it could have been called the ‘manual for Street’. Public squares, housing squares, boulevards, streets and mews are laid out in a hierarchy to manage traffic speed, the change in character supported by a lavish landscape architecture of mature trees, street tables and benches, planters and even topiary giraffes. Rather than pay a commuted payment to Highways and let it dictate materials, the developer set up a management company and landscape architect Grant Associates has dressed these places as outdoor rooms. Some 40% is public space, the result of a thorough public consultation exercise to make sure the existing community would enjoy the new one’s charms.
Houses face each other in parallel terraces with repetitive elevations mirroring each other like Georgian streets, complete with rectangular windows, as in Bath, to increase daylighting. But terraces are not always terraces. The timber cladding gives the impression of a continuous frontage while the party walls in the 2-bed mews houses are in fact separated by a garage and deck space over with windows to the deck. Only larger units have true party walls. Broader fronted double-garaged 4-bed houses again have the deck space and master bedroom over.
This scheme accepts people use cars and makes a virtue of the need to garage them. People pull up right outside the front door to unload their families before parking up – mews have additional remote courts. These integral house types achieve the perfect balance of garaging, urban design and daylighting to bedrooms and living spaces.
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