Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture has received planning consent for Morland Gardens, a socially focussed mixed-use scheme in the London Borough of Brent. The scheme includes 65 new council homes, a 2500m² state-of-the-art adult education centre with public café and 700m² of affordable workspace.
The £43m scheme is situated on a council-owned site in the heart of Stonebridge Ward, one of Brent’s most deprived areas. It will deliver 100% affordable council homes, combined with a significant investment in skills and enterprise. 32% of the 65 new homes will be three to four-bed, and an additional 12% will be dedicated units for disabled residents. The scheme follows the London Development Panel 2 (LDP2) framework to help tackle the London housing crisis.
Curl la Tourelle Head was appointed following a design competition in 2018. The proposed scheme creates strong, active frontages that give much-needed definition to the prominent urban corner, while the vibrant façades address the colour, tone, massing and rhythm of the two churches either side of the development. The new adult education centre will be laid out on a single floor level with affordable workspaces below and new homes above. A welcoming orientation space will include a public café and will encourage people into the centre where learning spaces will be arranged around a large multi-functional space that will be the hub of the new building.
This new centre will enable Brent Start to provide a high-quality service to help boost numeracy and literacy, expand its digital skills offer, provide a facility for arts and crafts and ensure more support for residents with learning disabilities. Brent Start will also manage the affordable workspace offering students and local residents a place to launch their business ideas.
Cllr Amer Agha, Cabinet Member for Schools, Employment & Skills said: “Given how Covid-19 has disproportionately affected Brent, both by case numbers and in its economic impact, this kind of new educational facility and the affordable workspace which will be provided, has never been needed more and so I’m very pleased that the committee voted in favour of the plans.”
Harlesden-based youth leadership consultant and member of the project’s Community Steering Group, Errol Donald, spoke in favour of the scheme, telling the committee that it was “an essential step in reinvigorating the local community, by providing meaningful opportunities for people to live, learn and work sustainably. In providing real hope and genuine opportunities for people to access affordable housing, specialist skills, training and custom-built work spaces, I feel the scheme will undoubtedly play a key role in supporting a community that has shown incredible resilience for as long as I can remember. It is a community that I feel are equally deserving for the chance to thrive and grow as those who inhabit other areas of the borough.”
The project has been designed with sustainability at the forefront. An ambient loop heating system provides a 39% reduction in operational CO2 and extensive rooftop gardens and multiple sheltered courtyards give residents over 2200m² outdoor space, protected from pollution, promoting healthy living and biodiversity. The building will be constructed to the highest design and environmental standards and will create an exceptional building in the heart of the community.
Wayne Head, Director, Curl la Tourelle Head, said, “Morland Gardens plays an important role in tying together this busy urban context through considered design and high-quality landscaped spaces. The commitment to deliver such an exemplar scheme is a testament to the vision of the local authority and Brent Start who have been clear from the outset that residential and educational amenities must be of the highest standards.”
The team includes engineers Max Fordham and Structure Mode, landscape designers Planit IE and quantity surveyors Allman Woodcock.
Work is due to begin Autumn 2020.