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‘Best Masterplan and Placemaking’, 2020 Housing Design Awards

Design South East – Former Alfold Garden Centre, Alfold, Surrey

Planning Overview:
A former nursery and garden centre for over 50 years, the site was identified in the Waverley SHLAA as rural brownfield and appropriate for housing. The site, designated as countryside beyond the green belt, lies outside the settlement boundary and had extant permission for 10 dwellings (2 affordable). DSE reviewed the scheme at a full design review meeting and at a follow-up review in 2018. Waverley BC refused the application as being in an unsustainable location and representing gross overdevelopment. At the request of the applicant and design team, to support an appeal decision Design South East provided written comment on how the submitted scheme had responded to the recommendations of the DRP. The Planning Inspectorate found in favour of the scheme in March 2020.

Key facts:

  • Planning Reference:WA/2018/2264
  • Site location: former Alfold Garden Centre, Alfold, Surrey
  • Architect: John Pardey Architects
  • Developer: Q Developments
  • Authority: Waverley Borough Council
  • Schedule of Accommodation:56 dwellings (46 houses, 10 apartments)
  • Tenure Mix:30% Affordable, 70% Private
  • Site size: 2.95 hectares
  • Awards: ‘Best Masterplan and Placemaking’, 2020 Housing Design Awards

Commendable design features:

  • ‘Village green’ and network of narrow lanes evoke the grain of traditional local villages.
  • Building forms echo the simple forms of traditional village building types.
  • Adaptable outbuildings support home working.
  • Dwellings cluster around a holistic play space with natural features.
  • Connection and integration with the existing village and amenities are enabled through pedestrian paths.
  • Lanes are shared by pedestrians, cycles and vehicles, creating a safe environment.
  • Public realm encourages biodiversity and a variety of rich amenity spaces.
  • High-quality building materials and architectural detailing give a distinctive and contemporary village feel that responds to its place.
  • 30% affordable homes delivered.


“We believe the submitted scheme greatly benefitted from the involvement of D:SE at 2 reviews.”

Carl Gulland, Director, John Pardey Architects

“Our client, Q-Developments, have been very impressed by the positive input and analysis from the D:SE panel members – design review really tests schemes, highlighting strengths and weakness and identifying opportunities and indeed previously missed constraints. Our client feels that the design review was an extremely positive part of the pre-application process.”

Director, John Pardey Architects