POD Architects are delighted to announce Watford Borough Council has awarded planning permission to our innovative family housing site within the Northern Riverwell Masterplan. During these challenging times, the scheme was approved with unanimous support for the very first virtual planning committee by Watford Borough Council with delegated powers. Working with Kier Property Ltd and Watford Borough Council, POD Architects developed the family housing site to deliver a comprehensive scheme, creating a new neighbourhood and catalyst for the regeneration of the Watford Riverwell Northern Masterplan, which POD completed in 2018.
The planning stage concluded and materialised into 192 high quality sustainable family homes at a density of 95 dwellings per hectare with an emphasis on community living formed through large communal gardens and redefined the accepted normalities seen within housing standards. The scope had the added benefit of a large community centre which features spaces for fitness and games and an emphasis throughout the project on affordable housing. The project emphasised Watford’s scenic upbringing and notions of a meeting place through the inclusion of large communal gardens reminiscent of Georgian squares without railings or barriers so children can play securely. The design of which was developed to include meandering pathways through tree-lined meadows, referencing Turner’s historic painting of the River Colne, which lies to the south of the site.
Working closely with stakeholders and establishing a continuous dialogue, POD successfully challenged local design standards whilst promoting high quality design. The design responded to a number of challenging constraints, consisting of tall neighbouring buildings, large topographical differences and major underground services. Along with these constraints, POD pushed to achieve an innovative scheme that acts as a transition point between the existing traditional terraced housing to the north-east and the future high-rise apartments to the south-west. Various homes are arranged either within maisonettes; single or dual aspect terraces; back-to-back homes, or apartments meeting amenity space standards with a combination of private gardens, balcony spaces and roof terraces. All homes have access to high quality traffic-free public gardens acting as a meeting point for this new community to congregate amongst soft landscaping. The development has sought to be a low-trafficked neighbourhood placing the priority on active travel with generous facilities for cycling and walking.
Buildings are formed in high quality brick facades with metal windows and balconies. Brick faced detailing has been central to the architectural theme with the use of two coloured bricks and traditional coursing and detailing. The scheme limits overlooking whilst setting buildings within terraced rows in close proximity, this has been achieved by offsetting habitable rooms and balconies from each other. The scheme is formed to promote community with well- designed public gardens in front of the dwellings. Mature trees have been specified to be incorporated from the outset to support our vision for this scheme to create a high density community led development which will last the test of time.