On 15th March 2021 Irene Craik wrote:

Melfield Gardens in Lewisham wins approval

We are delighted to announce that we have secured planning permission for Melfield Gardens, a highly sustainable, intergenerational housing scheme on a constrained site in the London Borough of Lewisham for Phoenix Community Housing. It will provide 30 flexible and affordable homes for residents aged 55 and above, and two, four-bedroom homes for eight postgraduate students from Goldsmiths, University of London.

In return for being ‘good neighbours’, the students will be charged a lower rent. Each will spend a number of hours assisting older residents, offering company or participating in the cultural and recreational activities that will take place in the communal spaces.

As well as learning from this innovative social pilot, the client is keen to achieve a fully certified Passivhaus building as the first step towards a zero carbon future. This fabric-first approach demands design rigour and excellent teamwork, so we have worked closely with sustainability consultants Etude throughout the process.

The scheme is split into two subtly cranked buildings that partially enclose a pedestrian-prioritised central green space which retains public routes through the site to Beckenham Hill Station. The new residents will access their homes from this space, and the shared entrance cores, external decks and front doors will overlook it, increasing the sense of community. A shared ‘garden room’ sits at the foot of the western building, wrapping around into the protected garden to the rear for residents and their visitors.