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A luxury inner-London housing development constructed on what client Taylor Wimpey called “a building site on a postage stamp”



HIGHLIGHTS

  • Mix of luxury apartments (value £1 million and above) and social housing
  • Working on a constrained inner city site, with numerous neighbours
  • Just-in-time logistics operation, due to restricted access and no on-site storage
  • Design revisions to address local conservation concerns
  • Value engineering to reduce costs and improve market value of properties

This luxury canal-side housing development was built on an extremely constrained site in the Regents Canal Conservation Area of Camden, north London – described by client Taylor Wimpey as “a building site on a postage stamp”. It required extensive liaison with local planners and residents.

Facilities

Twyman House comprises 52 flats arranged as three adjoining blocks, ranging in height from four to eight storeys. The flats are a mixture of tenure with 39 of them built for private sale – average price per flat £1 million – seven for shared ownership, and six for affordable rent. These flats were handed over to Origin Housing Trust.

Constrained site

The site was extremely constrained, with very limited access. It occupies land bounded by the British Transport Police to the west, a red route to the east, Regents Canal to the south, and the gardens of terraced houses on Bonny Street, a cul-de-sac, to the north and north-west. Three listed-buildings also adjoin the site.

Access to the site was between two properties on Bonny Street, which had to be shared with residents. This was a huge logistical challenge and required strict controls: two gatemen were employed to manage site egress and access.

Storage space on site was non-existent, so all deliveries had to be organised on a just-in-time basis, with the gatemen holding vehicles outside Bonny Street until there was room on site.

Design challenges

Agreeing the facade appearance proved a delicate balancing act between the local conservation office, who wanted a window design that reflected the 'industrial canal-side heritage' of the site, and the NHBC who had to provide a warranty. Willmott Dixon eventually proposed a stainless steel option with enamel paint, which was a compromise both parties agreed on.

Brick shortages

The upturn in the housing market created brick supply shortages and led Willmott Dixon to source bricks from Scotland. These were sent to a holding operation in Hertfordshire, avoiding the 20 to 30 week delay

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