Working with our client Berkeley Homes (Eastern Counties), JTP has achieved planning approval for a new community of 69 apartments on the former Berkeley House site which housed the developer’s offices in Sevenoaks for 23 years.
Within walking distance of Sevenoaks station and set in the heart of a residential neighbourhood, the new homes will repair the brownfield site’s connection to the community with dwellings provided in a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments. A total of 84% of dwellings benefit from a dual aspect perspective of the surrounding landscape, with no single aspect north facing homes. The apartments will also be supported by a variety of areas of private and shared amenity space including courtyards of raised podium gardens with concealed parking beneath, and access to a new woodland walk. In addition to the communal gardens and woodland, balconies will also provide dedicated private outdoor space for residents.
A design approach draws on and considers the character and challenging topography of the site, taking inspiration from the high-quality landscape and architectural history of Oakhill Road. In particular, careful consideration has been given to the site’s relationship with the adjacent Kippington and Oakhill Road Conservation Area with the design proposals aiming to positively contribute to this sensitive local environment. Alongside a long-term management and maintenance plan, the proposals will maintain and enhance the site’s woodland-edge and create new woodland glades encouraging flora and fauna to thrive, with a biodiversity net gain of 48%.
Through analysis of Oakhill Road, the Conservation Area and the local context, the project features an elegant material palette of warm materials and colours including complimentary brick tones with bronze finishes and stone effect coping and banding. The characteristics of an Arts and Crafts vernacular which incorporate asymmetry and informality have been adopted and create an appropriate and sensitive building that introduces strong, vertical rhythm, and a stepped façade.
A series of consultation events were held throughout the design process including a Design Review Panel and a two day public consultation event. From these events and discussions, the feedback was collated and responded to with a series of significant changes to the proposal, which ranged from form, footprint, architectural expression and the landscape strategy. This included amendments to the elevation strategy to articulate the building as a cluster of homes, breaking down the massing through a series of articulated forms and informal and asymmetrical details so the new apartments appear as a collection of buildings.
Our team is delighted with this exciting new development and major achievement to secure approval at appeal. The transformation of Berkeley House has been carefully considered and will ensure the collection of high-quality homes will knit seamlessly into and enhance the site’s woodland along Oakhill Road.
Dominic Chapman, Partner at JTP