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Proposed Redevelopment of the former Belmont Hospital site

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Proposed Redevelopment of the former Belmont Hospital site

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									Proposed Redevelopment of the former Belmont Hospital site, Tiverton


General Comments about the proposal
The Society has commented on proposals for the redevelopment of the Grade II listed former
Belmont Hospital / Tiverton Workhouse site following the first consultation on 15.4.08. In this
comment we stated that
    ‘The design of all the terraces, apartment blocks and detached houses on the site
    should respect and cohere with the design of the central feature of the site, the
    Grade II listed former Belmont Hospital’.
In our view, following the second consultation, there remain significant adjustments
required of the current proposal before this is achieved.
The guidance on the historic environment given to local authorities, amenity bodies and others
is found in PPG 15 which states that special regard must be given to the desirability of
preserving the setting of listed buildings. The design principle stemming from this is to be found
in Paragraph 2.14 of PPG15.
     2.14 The design of new buildings intended to stand alongside historic buildings needs very
     careful consideration. In general it is better that old buildings are not set apart, but are
     woven into the fabric of the living and working community. This can be done, provided that
     the new buildings are carefully designed to respect their setting, follow fundamental
     architectural principles of scale, height, massing and alignment, and use appropriate
     materials. This does not mean that new buildings have to copy their older neighbours in
     detail: some of the most interesting streets in our towns and villages include a variety of
     building styles, materials, and forms of construction, of many different periods, but together
     forming a harmonious group
In order that a ‘harmonious group’ design is achieved and which respects the setting of the
listed building, the Society asserts that the principle of subservience be applied to unattached
and attached new-build to the listed building and its outbuildings. The Society is of the view that
the current proposals, all of which lie within both the setting and the curtilage of a Grade II listed
building, do not respect the setting of Belmont Hospital or provide harmony but dominate the
setting of the listed building and detract from it, as opposed to being subservient to and
preserving or enhancing the setting of the listed building. The designs appear restless and lack
the unity necessary for harmony.
In comments following the last consultation, the Society stated that it was of the view that
    ‘the height of the apartment block on the corner of Belmont Road and Hillcrest which
    is contiguous with the outbuildings adjacent to Belmont Road, should respect the
    height, roofline, roof pitch, building materials and window designs of the
    outbuildings....The Society would like to see terrace houses at this point on the site
    and would prefer the outbuildings [to the listed building] to be converted to terrace
    dwellings (rather than apartments) to which the existing layout and height of the
    outbuildings lend themselves.’
At this stage, there was no proposal to build in front of the outbuildings facing Belmont Road.
Following the second consultation, the Society feels that the visual quality of the present
proposal neither preservess nor enhances the quality of the listed building which is its
central feature.
In particular, the new-build apartment blocks on the corner of Belmont Road and Hillcrest, and
on Hillcrest, dominate in terms of height, obscuring the listed building from view on the
approach travelling west along Belmont Road. The design features of these blocks, together
with the new-build apartments attached to the outbuildings of the listed building facing Belmont
Road, present harshly to the passing pedestrian walking along Belmont Road as a series of
‘boxes’, having visually unattractive flat roofs and a restless mix of white render and timber
cladding to the elevations. These design features are uncharacteristic of, and not in keeping
with, the principle design features of the listed building and its outbuildings. The latter are
characterised by shallow-pitched roofs, with local dark red stone elevation. Nor are the features
of the new-build characteristic of the surrounding terraced and semi-detached houses providing
the current setting for the listed building. These have steeply pitched roofs and brick elevations,
and also good-sized back gardens.
Comments on the detailed design of the scheme

A. New-build Apartments adjacent to Belmont Road and Hillcrest
Representatives of the Society have discussed the design of the apartment blocks with the
architect during the consultation and would like to see the following revisions to the proposals:
1. As first preference, no apartment block to be built on the corner of Belmont Road and
   Hillcrest, or along Hillcrest. The elevation of the two-storey outbuildings to be extended
   sensitively towards Belmont Road, given their setting within the curtilage of a listed building,
   so that the apartments created in these extended outbuildings look out towards Belmont
   Road across short gardens belonging to ground floor apartments.
New-build extension to the outbuildings of the Grade II listed Belmont Hospital, facing
Belmont Road, to provide apartments in the outbuildings
The outbuildings were originally at the back of the Workhouse, and as such, they are oriented
into the site towards the Listed Workhouse building, rather than outward to the current main
thoroughfare of Belmont Road. They are enclosed by a high wall which is to be retained.
•   The Society would like to see the roof of the new-build section of these apartments
    redesigned as a shallow pitched roof as close as possible to the angle of the roof of the two-
    storey outbuildings so that the view of this elevation from Belmont Road encourages the eye
    to sweep gently upward over the roof of the new-build fronting Belmont Road to the listed
    building behind. The colour and material look of the roof tiling to be as close as possible to
    that of the roofing on the outbuildings and listed building.
•   The Society are unhappy with the lack of cohesion provided by the mix of render and timber
    on the elevation of the apartment blocks, and suggest that a suitably selected dark red
    render blending with the colour of the stone on the listed building is used and this colour
    retained under the terms of sale. This would provide coherence to the site as a whole. It
    would also reduce the long-term maintenance costs for the exterior of the building by
    comparison with timber cladding, which even with modern technology, would show
    deterioration in colour and quality in a relatively short space of time.
•   The Society welcome the central vertical glass elevation design to the apartments facing
    Belmont Road as a feature entrance to these apartments which turns the focus of the
    building outwards to Belmont Road.
•   Window designs should respect the fenestration design character of the listed building and
    its outbuilding.
Area of the apartment blocks on the corner of Belmont Road and Hillcrest and in Hillcrest
• The Society would like to see the area of the corner apartment block and apartment block in
   Hillcrest as public open space, of which this proposal has far too little. The current, and
   in the Society’s opinion, unnecessarily high density of the proposal renders it vulnerable to
   becoming a slum in the future.
• At an earlier stage in the consultation, there was a proposal for a children’s play area. This
   would be an appropriate use of the site of the apartment block facing Hillcrest which is a
   quiet cul-de-sac containing semi-detached family homes.
•   The corner site would provide a sheltered communal garden area for residents of upper floor
    apartments, enclosed as it is by the high wall adjacent to Belmont Road.
Other
• The proposals did not appear to provide an area or building servicing the refuse and
   recycling needs of the apartments in the outbuildings. The size of the apartments would
   suggest that residents will have very little room within the apartments to address the need to
   separate refuse and sort the varying types of articles for recycling.
• The high density and lack of open amenity space will also deprive many residents of basic
   need options such as outdoor drying of laundry washing.
• Car parking proposals should conform to or be slightly above the minimum requirement of
   1½ to 2 cars per apartment as on street parking in Tiverton is limited by the narrow streets.
   Failure to provide such spaces will transfer the parked car problem to areas outside the
   development site which will add to the lowering of environmental standards in this part of
   Tiverton.

2. As second preference, a lowered, pitched roofline to the apartment blocks on the corner of
   Belmont Road and on Hillcrest, together with comments as in 1. on design relating to roof
   pitch, elevation design and fenestration.
• It would be desirable to reduce the height of these two apartment blocks from three to two
   storey with a shallow pitched roof to avoid detracting from the listed building. The Society
   has discussed the possibility of three-storey with the windows of the top floor as dormer
   windows in a shallow pitched roof.
• The Society welcome the use of the stone boundary wall facing onto Belmont Road as a
   casing to the ground floor section of the wall of the new-build apartment on the corner of
   Belmont Road and Hillcrest, and the inclusion of fenestration in this wall, opening the
   building out onto Belmont Road.
• The Society would prefer the elevation above the stone wall to be of dark red render,
   cohering with the colour of the stone of the listed building, and the outbuildings to which it is
   attached.
• The Society welcome the curved corner design of the apartment on the corner of Belmont
   Road and Hillcrest, but are unhappy with the proposed white render finish. The Society
   suggests that a vertical full-length, curved window, balancing that of the glass feature
   entrance to the apartment block facing Belmont Road would be an attractive feature, and
   provide continuity to a subservient ‘wrap-around’ design approach to the new-build in the
   setting of the listed building.
• The Society suggest that elevations of both apartment blocks should be dark red render with
   fenestration respecting that of the listed building.

B. Attached new-build to Listed Belmont Hospital building
The detailed design on this part of the proposal was not available at the second consultation as
it has not yet been completed. This extension forms the south east wing of the listed building, to
the front of the main entrance to the original Workhouse, which faced south towards the town
(and not north towards Belmont Road). The extension provides a one-storey building balancing
that of the south-west front wing of the Workhouse.
Representatives of the Society, in conversation with the architect, strongly recommend that:
•   In conformity with the clear guidance in PPG 15, the extension should retain the roofscape,
    plan form and fenestration of the south-west wing of the Grade II Listed Building for the
    proposed south-east wing extension.
•   As the original stone material of the Workhouse is not available, the Society recommends
    exterior material for the elevation that is consistent with the dark red stone of the listed
    building. A suitable dark red render has been suggested as one possibility.
•   Roof materials and pitch should cohere in colour and materials with that of the south-west
    wing and the main roof of the listed building.
•   The Society welcome the proposal to turn the front, south-facing courtyard of the Workhouse
    into a sheltered communal garden for residents of the apartments created in the listed
    building, and are pleased that the proposal retains one storey wings with shallow pitched
    roofs on the south side, allowing the sun to penetrate the garden.
•   The same caveats with regard to refuse and recycling, and to car parking apply to
    apartments in the listed building as the outbuildings.

C. New-build terraced property within the curtilage and to the south of the listed building
•   The Society welcome the decision to replace a proposed apartment block in this area with
    terraced housing.
•   Design features of the new-build terraced housing should respect and be subservient to the
    design features of the listed building.
This area of new housing falls into two parts – that adjacent to the front wings of the listed
building and that beyond the ‘neck’ formed by Ambulance Station and Melrose Unit. These parts
are joined by terraced housing fronting the spine road. This allows for movement in design
features from the dwellings facing the listed building to those beyond the ‘neck’.
At present, the proposal shows a design of two-storey housing with steeply pitched roofs and a
restless mix of white render and timber cladding, some with a vertical idiom built into the nix and
some with a horizontal idiom. The current proposal is restless, and ill-suited to the existing
building characteristics of the site.
The Society make the following suggested revisions to the proposals:
•   The elevation of two-storey terraced housing facing the listed building should be simplified to
    use only dark red render that coheres with the stonework of the listed building and the dark
    red render of the south-east new-build front wing of the listed building, while introducing the
    characteristically steeper pitch of roofing of the proposal which is carried through terraces
    along the ‘neck’ to the area beyond.
•   If it is considered desirable from an ecological perspective to introduce a mix of timber
    cladding and render on the façade of the terraces, this design feature might be introduced in
    the terraces which face each other along the ‘neck’. A horizontal timber-cladding design
    idiom at this point, with dark red render on the lower storey and timber cladding on the upper
    storey, would cohere with the one-storey dark red render of the new-build south east wing of
    the listed building.
•   We understand the proposed vertical timber idiom on the two-storey terraced buildings is
    designed to emphasise the front entrance to each terraced property, and possibly might also
    relate to the gradient of the land on southern parts of the site. As this part of the site has less
    influence on the setting of the listed building, a movement in the timber-cladding design
    idiom from horizontal in the ‘neck’ to vertical beyond the ‘neck’ could provide a subtle
    differentiation and point of interest within the site while retaining subservience to the listed
    building.


D. Public access, paths and cycle ways, parking
The Society welcome the provision of public access for pedestrians at three points and cyclists
at two points on the site on Belmont Road and Hillcrest, with pavement from each of these to
the arched exit from the site along a footpath and cycleway to the town centre and local
school.Car parking provision should be at least the minimum and preferably above the minimum
requirements for terraced properties.

								
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