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Caxton Works

Millharbour Village

2012-2016

We’ve created the potential for a sustainable development that ensures that the landscape delivers liveable spaces for people promotes ecology, biodiversity and sustainable systems, and one that enhances the value of the site.

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We’ve created the potential for a sustainable development that ensures that the landscape delivers liveable spaces for people promotes ecology, biodiversity and sustainable systems, and one that enhances the value of the site.
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Strategy

Millharbour Village comprises the majority of the remaining plots of the Millennium Quarter within the Isle of Dogs, London, an area that has experienced extensive regeneration over the last few decades.

Location:
London, UK
Client:
Galliard Homes

Role:
Urban Designer, Architect and Landscape Architect
Status:
Hybrid planning application approved
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A previous scheme by another architect had been refused planning permission

In 2012, we inherited a scheme for the area that had recently been refused planning permission and had a planning officer that held a distinctly negative view of the development. A few months later the same planning officer provided a letter of comfort to our client - Galliard Homes - that allowed the scheme to be evolved into a detailed planning application, submitted in November 2014.

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Our design approach moved the scheme into a position where all key stakeholders and land owners agreed on the proposals, design principles and massing, with detailed planning consent granted in summer 2015

This was achieved through our fundamental change in approach to the urban design of the site. With 1500 homes proposed in 6 buildings between 30-45 storeys, this is high density living at its most challenging. We refocused attention on the place, designing the public realm and the experience of the first three storeys before extending the conversation to the design of the towers; a new two-form entry school, a relocated and expanded Montessori school and a dance academy face one of two parks, which includes a destination playground, all represent the final opportunity to secure the delivery of a great place, with a vibrant mix of uses.

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Detailed planning consent was granted in summer 2015, having been positively received by all stakeholders including the Greater London Authority.
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From the outset, we encouraged our client to establish an open and transparent relationship with the council, owners of the adjacent derelict site, local businesses and local community to establish clear objectives that would be captured in an Urban Design Framework. The UDF delivered a holistic vision that secured benefits for the client and the wider community through high-quality and sustainable developments that meets the needs for housing and communal and commercial facilities without the need for a costly outline planning application.
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Specificity

Key to the success of Millharbour Village has been the creation of a characterful public realm and playful landscape that is able to glue the final plots together and integrate them with the completed developments. We’ve proposed two parks - each with a distinct character that reflects the use of adjacent buildings and the specific opportunities in their location; play areas, parkland, streetscapes, schools entrances, terraced gardens and a waterside walkway have all also been incorporated.

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Inspired by the rich history of the site and its riverside location, the landscape strategy is derived from estuarine vegetation and provides soft, yet defined edges to delineate public spaces. Marsh Wall will be revitalised with the introduction of soft landscaping that changes the tone of the currently predominantly hard landscaped street, adding life and vibrancy to this busy and important thoroughfare.

The Docklands - an area not traditionally seen as child-friendly – will become a destination playground and a hub for students, parents, and families – a much needed public amenity for Millharbour Village.

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Our detailed proposals also comprise three residential led towers, which offer a different take on high-rise living. Wrap-around winter gardens make the most of the expansive views, offering a flexible alternative to covered balconies and shelter from the prevailing winds. They also provide a dynamic appearance to the façade, whilst still retaining the efficiency of stacked floor plates.

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Sustainability

Central to the evolution of the Millharbour Village design principles were a series of community consultation events that offered the design team the opportunity to present their latest proposals, guide local residents and other interested parties through their design rationale, answer any questions and take on board people’s concerns, aspirations and recommendations.

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This led, through a series of public consultations and stakeholder workshops, to a proposal that included three new schools, two new parks and of course 1500 dwellings being submitted for pre-application ahead of the detailed application. This strategy moved the scheme into a position where all key stakeholders and landowners agreed in the key ingredients, design principles and massing before the client committed to starting the detailed planning consent

At Millharbour Village, we’ve created the potential for a sustainable development that ensures that the landscape delivers liveable spaces for people promotes ecology, biodiversity and sustainable systems, and one that enhances the value of the site.

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