The development is set on part of the former site of Milford Hospital, within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Our design focuses on respecting and enhancing this rural setting while bringing brownfield land back into use having been vacant for 20 years.
The proposal delivers 108 homes in a green belt setting, with contemporary design solutions designed to be sensitive to the protected setting. Our approach was to do design a wide variety of house types within a language of barns and farmsteads, with innovative approaches to delivery including custom build houses.
The site layout is organised into two parts. The eastern half adjacent to the retained hospital featuring formal groupings of flats, short terraces and semi-detached homes while the area to the west which fronts on to open countryside arranged in informal clusters of detached homes. The intention is that these informal clusters echo the historic and organic growth of farm buildings around a central yard - examples of which exist immediately to the north and east of the site. Running between these two characters is a central spine of open space which ensures all homes enjoy a sense of their rural setting with the benefit of connection to the public footpaths that lead into Milford with its facilities and train station providing further connection.
The homes are set in large plots with generous front gardens. New street trees, hedges and traditional split rail timber fences are used at boundaries to ensure an appropriate setting for the homes.
The spine road is tarmac to road and footpath with granite setts to raised tables and granite kerbs providing an attractive and contrasting delineation of areas. Away from this central road shared surfaces are designed with tumbled block pavers while spray chipping is used to dedicated cycle and footpaths.
The development offers a wide range of housing types and sizes, from 1 bed flats to 5 bed houses, and a mix of tenures with a third of the homes either affordable rent or shared ownership. All homes are designed to Lifetime Homes and offer more generous space standards than typically found in modern housing. They have been designed to reduce their footprint to limit the impact on the land and maximise the open spaces on the site. To allow this all homes are spread over three floors with master bedrooms generally given vaulted ceilings on the top floor and first floor living rooms used to exploit the views into the surrounding countryside.
The homes are all designed to use traditional materials and details, from the palette of brick, weatherboard and tile hanging through to solid oak front doors and clipped eaves. This referencing of the vernacular forms also extends to the overall composition of the elevations with homes using short roof spans and being subdivided into smaller masses that mimic the organic growth and appearance of farm houses. Homes enjoy large windows that make the most of daylight and views into the surrounding woodland and countryside. Roof windows and solar photo voltaics are integrated into the depth of the roof finish to minimise their impact while shutters are designed into south and west aspects to avoid overheating with a similar appearance converted barn doors. Overall the intention is that the designs capture the popularity of barn conversions with layouts that match modern lifestyles and enjoy the benefits of this beautiful setting.