• Urban Design
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Housing

Eastfields Estate,
Merton

Info

Project Details:

Taking a collaborative approach to transform a suburban neighbourhood.

Client: Clarion Housing Group

Construction Value: £130m

Completion: 2029

Location: Merton

Awards:

  • Landscape Institute Awards 2018, Urban Design and Masterplanning: Highly Commended
  • New London Awards 2018, Masterplan & Area Strategies: Shortlisted
  • New London Awards 2016, Masterplan & Area Strategies: Shortlisted
  • Planning & Placemaking Awards 2016, Award for Stakeholder Engagement in Planning: Shortlisted
  • AJ120 Architectural Collaboration of the Year 2015: Shortlisted

People

Clarion Housing Group is progressing the regeneration of Eastfields Estate in Mitcham alongside two other neighbourhoods, High Path and Ravensbury. Working closely with residents, the focus is on providing better homes and better connecting them to the wider community.

We knew the key to improving Eastfields was to add variety, and so we proposed collaborating with Proctor and Matthews and Cullinan Studio – two practices with whom we share a very similar culture and ethos. This collective approach paid off and we were jointly appointed to develop a new masterplan for the estate.

Image drawn by Robbie Polley of Eastfields Estate, a collaboration between ourselves and two other practices

The masterplan increases quantity and quality of homes on the site while providing much needed amenity space

Before: The existing estate is a long perimeter building which snakes around a central green and isolates the development from the surrounding community

Unusually, it was identified very early on that the redevelopment of Eastfields was not financially viable in its own right. Clarion Housing Group took the view that all three estates needed to be treated as one project, and with the other two having so much more potential, they would fund the development of Eastfields. However, it was also imperative that we maximised value as far as possible to prevent the viability of the overall regeneration of the three projects being put into jeopardy.

A number of existing homes had been purchased under Right to Buy legislation and were occupied by a mix of leaseholders and freeholders. From the outset, we carried out extensive consultation with tenants and home owners to explore their needs and to tailor the masterplan accordingly to accommodate these.

One of many meetings with community members, photo courtesy of CHMP

The existing estate suffers from many anti-social issues due to its isolating design, photo courtesy of CHMP

Built in the 1970s, the existing development features a perimeter building with homes around a large central green, creating two distinct zones: inside the estate and outside the estate. Not surprisingly, this Radburn layout, typical of town planning at that time, has cut the estate from its surroundings and created anti-social behaviour issues. Despite the quality of housing being quite low – many had been poorly converted and leaked heat and water – residents were very hesitant about redevelopment. Together with Clarion Housing Group, our challenge was to create support from the local community.

Underlying this whole project is the principle of shared values between the three architects and the client. It’s made for an inspiring and collaborative design process, which I truly believe has led us to a better result and a better future for the local community.

Barry McCullough, Director

Heat and water leakage is commonplace in existing homes

Design

Our concept for the renewed Eastfields was to turn the existing site inside out. The central green has been retained, along with all of its mature trees, but the architectural monolith around it has been recreated as a series of buildings of varied scale, with a hierarchy of routes through to it. Homes now front onto this new central linear park, enabling it to be better used and more secure.

By reinstating a more traditional street pattern, we will not only better integrate the neighbourhood within its context, but be able to significantly increase the density on the site. What currently accommodates 470 homes will instead create space for 800, an increase of 70%, all of a much better quality and with private amenity space.

Strategy diagram showing initial analysis of the site and surrounding areas

Landscape masterplan showing new extensive play network and areas for informal social interaction

We have devised a masterplan with five distinct character areas. A formal entrance green and series of new lanes lead into the neighbourhood off Acacia Road and Mulholland Close. The Lanes are like mews streets, intimate in scale and character. Building heights increase nearer the central linear park, up to a maximum of nine storeys. Larger scale, more robust buildings front onto the central green space and form a distinctive skyline. Towards the south of the masterplan, a series of housing courts and traditional mews streets feature a variety of house types and overlook the adjacent cemetery.

Section cut through estate

Housing courts are created by opening up homes directly onto shared surfaces

Intimate mews-like lanes feature three storey houses and informal front gardens

Community engagement has been integral to the design process and arriving at the final masterplan. We carried out a series of workshops and consultation events where we discussed house typologies using physical models, as well as the design of streets, public spaces and play opportunities. Throughout this process, we also engaged with surrounding stakeholders, such as St. Mark’s Academy, Hammond Avenue residents and Streatham Park Cemetery; their input has proved invaluable to the development of our proposals.

The local community are now very supportive of our proposals thanks to a strong financial offer and high quality design. After receiving outline planning consent, we are now working on the detailed planning applications for the first two phases, which we will take further with both Proctor and Matthews and Cullinan Studio.

Core team

Barry McCullough

Director

Vinita Dhume

Associate Director

James Cornock

Associate

Jessica Howard

Project Architect

Archie Bashford

Landscape Architect

Ruth Richardson

Urban Designer