Kent Design Award 2017 ‘best new house’
The scheme strategically replaced a significant early 20th century structure known as the Leslie Hotel. The Leslie Hotel in its heyday was an attractive and handsome property, however due to recent adaptations to its façade and significant rear extensions it had become aesthetically and socially detrimental to the locality. The dwellings themselves comprise a mix of traditional form and scale, especially those addressing Surrey Road, with contemporary detailing. The mews development at the rear of the site develops the contemporary aesthetic to produce a modern interpretation of the mews cottage. The building section and arrangement allows the efficient development of the site whilst maintaining key neighbour issues such as scale, overbearing, amenity and light.
Overall, the scheme demonstrates design excellence by combining a fresh, contemporary aesthetic within a traditional Conservation area.
The property relates directly to its surrounding neighbourhood by virtue of its scale, massing, build line and materials. The site constraints and opportunities allowed a reduction in scale compared to the original building whilst addressing the social impact presented by the former Leslie Hotel which had subsequently been sub-divided into multiple bedsits. The build line of the development allowed the provision of small landscaped front gardens and reinstatement of the traditional back edge of footpath boundary brick walling, providing a defensible space and relative privacy typified by early 20th century residential development.
By virtue of its mews cottages at the rear of the site the development provides natural policing both to the rear gardens of the frontage development and the courtyard itself. The properties reinstate and continue the rear alley whilst maintaining natural policing to ensure security and avoiding the anti-social behaviour so common within these features.
The external appearance including its finishes mixes contemporary sheet metal materials and detailing with traditional forms. The workmanship is of the highest standard and is in keeping with the quality early 20th century craftsmanship present within the adjoining properties.
The properties met the requirements of Building Regulations Part L by a fabric first approach thus avoiding the need for potentially unsightly zero carbon technology. Although not cutting edge, the decision to avoid such visually intrusive technologies is a progressive development of the need to produce sustainable and environmentally friendly residential accommodation that does not conflict with historic location.
The use of a shallow mono pitch standing seam sheet metal roof on the mews cottages is an integral element permitting a 2 storey dwelling to be erected in close proximity to adjacent residential dwellings and their private amenity. In our view the use of this contemporary material provides a positive contribution to the aesthetic of the development and contributes to the architectural quality of the wider area.
The project, which was part of the Margate Live initiative – was developed with the specific intention of removing excessive studio/bedsit accommodation from key localities within the Cliftonville area; replacing such accommodation with quality family dwellings for sale. The programme is intended as a catalyst to facilitate the change in desirability of streets previously constrained by social imbalances to attract other owner-occupiers as well as encouraging private developers to provide quality accommodation rather than continue the prevalence of converting large family houses into smaller bedsits and studios.
It is considered that this development, has made a significant change to the visual appearance of the street and is beginning to have an affect on other economic activities.