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Ex-Travis Perkins site, Simpson Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes

Client: Azuka Estates

Many local authorities' stated declarations acknowledging a Climate Emergency hardly meet current requirements of sustainable construction - this design hopes to go well beyond these parameters, as we see the Climate Emergency as a statement of intent.

Milton Keynes has recently been named the greenest city in the UK.

The site is a sloping brownfield area, formerly a builder's merchant yard, bounded by the Grand Union Canal and Fenny Lodge.

The proposals are for 103 new residential flats within new landscaping with parking for cars and cycles.

The character of existing site and its surroundings generated the design- we tried to achieve the highest standards of sustainability, with exemplary low-carbon construction and passive design.

Here, the green landscaping is integral to this intent, and includes rooftop growspaces/allotments and on-site renewable energy generation.

The existing mature trees are limited to the periphery of the site, and have been retained.

We have incorporated a diverse 'amenity provision' to encourage a sense of community identity. Several scales of amenity encourages a more socially vibrant community to develop, including generous south facing terraces, private and shared gardens, and rooftop growing spaces which can be used as container allotments.

The parallel layout of new apartment blocks mirror the way the neighbouring houses address the Canal, which all fully exploit their relationship with the Canal & their landscaping.

The siting of these blocks connects the 2 sides of the site- Simpson Road is visually connected back to the Canal and landscape beyond. This canalside architecture is a solution that is distinct from the typical suburban architecture of the repetitive stretch of long streets, with front gardens, detached houses and rear gardens.

There is flexibility in both the sizes of the flats available- we consulted with Milton Keynes Housing early on in the design to reflect their current needs in the proposed mix. This also incorporated their accessibility requirements and lifetime homes standards.

Given the inherent conflict between this sustainable approach & the local authority's insistence on a large car parking requirement, the design has incorporated electric charging points, car sharing and substantial cycle provision.

Simpson Rd, Bletchley, Milton Keynes

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