Persimmon Homes has submitted plans for 464 homes on the former Kodak Recreation Grounds in Harrow. The new application, if approved, will replace part of an existing permission for the wider site which was originally permitted at lower density.
The new application consists of seventeen new buildings designed by Eric Cole Architects, all four storeys in height. Together they contain 51 one-bed apartments, 407 two bed flats and six three bed apartments. Work has already started on the wider site for a development of houses, and when taken together the new development will provide 580 new homes.
While the total new homes provided is almost double the original permission for 314, the site is large and the overall density of the combined scheme is only 73 dwellings per hectare. While the surrounding area might be suburban, a similar sized scheme in Harrow came forward this summer with close to double the density despite including a similar provision of houses.
The scheme also suffers from a large number of almost identical blocks, each with rather blank faces with little other than recessed balconies and zig-zag corridor windows to break up the monotone brickwork. While there is nothing offensive about the design, the overall feel is little different than the large, austere, interwar London County Council estates which at least benefit form mansard roofs to break up the facade.
It’s great to see an increase in density, and the courtyard layout of the blocks will make good living space for residents, but for such an large and important project on scarce urban land something denser and more varied wouldn’t be too much to ask for. The developer would almost certainly recoup the extra design and planning costs through increased sales values.