Public consultation took place on 23 and 25 May for the proposed redevelopment of the site at the corner of Blackhorse Lane and Forest Road, currently occupied by the remains of The Standard pub and music venue.
The proposals include 50 new homes, a supermarket (for the applicant, TFC), and a purpose built music venue across ground floor, mezzanine and basement performance space.
We have the consultation documents below.
An AE17 review
We discussed this scheme at our monthly meeting, and really liked it. Overall the proposals seem well considered and make a good use of this site, which is at a prominent key transport intersection in Walthamstow and a key part of the Blackhorse Road Area Action Plan zone. The proportions, articulation and materials suggested reflect a level of care in the design that is quite unusual in this borough and we hope that this is a sign of improving architectural standards and expectations.
Firstly though a ‘standard’ gripe – we were disappointed that the public consultation took place at such a late stage in the design process, and that there was no Saturday event for those who cannot make a weekday 4.30 to 7.30pm slot.
Most positively, the retention of pub /music venue use on the site is great to see, and a purpose built space offers the potential to be a valuable asset to the area. We understand that the applicant has been in discussion with an acoustic specialist and several potential operators, and this has influenced the design and size of the venue, which is larger than the existing space in order to be commercially viable.
There do however need to be rigorous measures in place to protect the residential uses on the site and directly above so that the use is viable in the short and long term. There is clearly a potential conflict between residential use and the music venue, and for this to work the construction needs to offer high acoustic insulation and other design measures to limit impact on people living within the development. This needs to be built into the planning approval through planning conditions and the documentation required from the applicant.
The double storey height at ground level gives a civic prominence to the commercial uses over the residential above and a positive proportion to the composition. Similarly, the incorporation of signage into the brickwork above the venue entrance not only provides identity to the building but ‘builds-in’ an important provision often overlooked and leading to unsympathetic additions to otherwise good buildings. We would hope that equal consideration is also given to the retail signage, and that this is conditioned in a planning consent.
The residential units appear to be well planned, and although there are single aspect units, these are restricted to single bed homes. The breaking apart of the building to the south allows sunlight to penetrate the private shared amenity space at podium level and in turn provides a visual link from the public realm. Access to homes via a secure private external courtyard on the street-side and then from this access to the communal gardens means that this the area is likely to be well used, and therefore of good amenity value to the development.
The positive aspects of the design need to be carefully conditioned so that potential quality is not lost in design development to construction – window specification, depth of reveals, lighting, signage etc.
We hope that there is similar aspiration in the design of the immediate public realm and the road junction, which we assume will be assisted with financial contribution from the developer. We also understand that the junction is part of Mini-Holland work, which we hope this can be designed to respond to this scheme – taking into account groups of visitors massing at the venue, or at closing time, for example.