Case studies

Horn Lane, Acton, London W3

An affordable housing development comprising 45 units, with a mix of 1 and 2 bedroom flats, a 3 bedroom wheelchair flat, and six 3 bedroom townhouses.

Client Catalyst Housing Group
Contractor Wates Construction Ltd
Contract Sum £4.8m
Eco/Code Good

The project

A brownfield site of derelict warehouses in Acton town centre was in desperate need of regeneration. A bright, contemporary four storey residential block was developed to knit into the fabric of the existing street scene and reinforce the road frontage.

A second cluster of flats and townhouses was located to the rear, along a hard-landscaped internal street and semi-private courtyard. Access to this for pedestrians and vehicles was through the main building, beneath flying duplex flats which became the centre piece of the design.

Our role

In bringing our specialist design skills to this development we overcame some considerable challenges. Not least of these was fitting a large number of dwellings into a small site area with close surrounding buildings. This resulted in a high density development with 199 DPH (dwellings per hectare) and little or no parking.

During the planning process, we had to deal with an unprecedented number of case officers, seven in all. This put particular pressure on reconciling planning policy and design issues which in turn had budgetary repercussions. Criteria such as overlooking, amenity space, wheelchair requirements, parking levels, and especially density all needed resolution.

On the spot problem solving and a constant value engineering process overcame all these issues and kept the project alive and on budget. Careful mediation between client and contractor with an open and transparent partnering contract enabled us to protect the clean, bright and contemporary design aesthetic of the development and brought the project to a mutually successful finish.

The result

Horn Lane is one of the client’s most dense urban developments, yet it retains its bold, strong design integrity. The proof of this comes from the citation from the Chief Executive of Catalyst saying it is his favourite building!