On behalf of our client, Regal London, JTP is pleased that the planning submission for an innovative student accommodation has now been made to Brent Council.
Situated within the Wembley Opportunity Area and the Wembley High Road Character Area, the project will further revitalise the High Road with the introduction of a new student building featuring 350 rooms in a range of affordable and private accommodation, alongside communal student amenities and flexible employment and retail space at ground floor level.
The project will reinforce the street edge whilst also opening up new pedestrian routes and supporting the council’s wider regeneration plans for Wembley. The new building will consist of three sections; with a centralised ‘active core’ with two wings for sleeping and living accommodation, creating a stepped profile that sits within the heights created by the existing Chesterfield House and the Wembley Links building which is under construction.
A range of student rooms and configurations will create variety and choice featuring studio apartments, ‘twodios’ (two rooms with a shared kitchen and bathroom) and clusters (multiple bedrooms with shared kitchens and ensuites). These will be supported by extensive internal amenity spaces including study areas, gym, dance studio, lounges, and dining room all with excellent levels of daylight and visual connections to the outside. A first floor ‘cloister’ terrace allows spill out of activities and animation onto the street below, as well as a rooftop garden which will provide students with a private green space, offering spectacular views over Wembley.
The ground floor level has been carefully designed to create active frontages on all four sides of the building. The re-provision of flexible commercial and retail uses along the High Road will help to increase footfall and activate the high street, encouraging movement around the building and creating interest for passing pedestrians.
A broad range of planting and green spaces across the site enhances wildlife and improves local biodiversity on the High Road. Greening is introduced onto the street scene and important new connections are made to the railway edge through a combination of trees and planters. The project will deliver a net biodiversity gain.
With a rapidly evolving student market and the COVID-19 pandemic raising questions about the provisions and needs of student accommodation, the design team undertook an extensive research process with student groups and student advisors, CRM Student, to understand current student needs.
The design team also reviewed several local examples of recently completed buildings of this typology to determine how the brief for Wembley High Road compared, taking into consideration room sizes, shared kitchens and internal amenity. These discussions, surveys and studies served to inform the project brief, and inspired the innovative design for the building.
The pandemic has asked difficult questions of student housing but with extensive research and a commitment to creating the best possible environment, the proposals celebrate and support the lifestyle of its residents with extensive space for study, leisure and relaxation whilst also playing an important role in the regeneration of the Wembley High Road.
Nigel Bidwell, Partner at JTP