Spencer's Park Phase 2 West
Hemel Hempstead
Planning authority
Dacorum Borough Council
Architecture and Landscape

Spencers Park Phase 2 West represents the first half of 600 unit scheme won with Countryside Partnerships at the end of 2019 via a Homes England disposal process. The process of making the first RM application began in earnest in late summer 2020, and was structured around a comprehensive PPA which saw us needing to win over sceptical case officers and urban designers from two local authorities, and demonstrate a rigorous process of design through carefully designed and clearly explained “Spatial Typologies”(following the terminology of Dacorum’s emerging design guidance, written by Proctor and Matthews). A testing review with senior members of Homes England led to a number of final scheme improvements.

Phase 2 West combines closed panel houses by Stewart Milne with traditionally built apartments. Phase 2 East Reserved Matters will contain a minimum of 20% modular houses (60) and is currently anticipated to start in September with a submission in April 2022.

Spencer’s Park Phase 2 represents a unique opportunity to contribute positively to the vision for Hemel Garden Communities. We see three principal components to this:

  • The Site: Long lines of mature trees characterize the site, allowing us to create a strategic network of green links and spaces, complemented by swales and ponds, that structures the sense of place, and helps achieve significant Bio-diversity Net Gain. The site’s topography ensures that long views north out to landscape are revealed. At the same time Hemel Hempstead is a New Town in character. We envisage an architecture of traditional materials and forms that harmonise with a rural setting, detailed in a clean contemporary way that associates with the best of the town’s Twentieth Century heritage.
  • The Site’s Connections: The existing “Nickey Line” lies to the north and forms a focus for a sustainable network of green links running through Spencers Park, tying into adjacent areas. The forthcoming Phase 2 East will add a school and local centre to the community.
  • The MMC Challenge: We propose the site is used as a platform to test a range of construction methods varying from modular, through panellised, to enhanced traditional in a demonstration project that compares and contrasts their performance over time. As part of this we aim to explore and demonstrate the benefits of such systematic approaches for end users.
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