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A high-density, high-rise housing development

Design South East – Tolworth

This is a high-density housing development on a brownfield site in Tolworth, in the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, providing cafeĢ and retail facilities, medical and nursery provision together with public and private amenity space and vehicle and cycle parking. The site lies adjacent to the six-lane A3 artery which by-passes Kingston-upon-Thames. We supported the development of this site for high-density housing in close proximity to the station and welcomed the identifiable building form drawing on the mansion block typology to define the scheme.

The final iteration of the scheme achieved a significant increase in density from 705 up to 950 units and an increase of 140% of public space over the outline scheme. At the same time the height was reduced to a maximum of 12 storeys from 18 storeys and there was a 156% increase in affordable homes. The form and massing of the development improved significantly between phases, with the height rising to the north towards the Tolworth roundabout and to the east towards the boundary with the railway line representing a much more contextual response to the surrounding suburban condition.

The environment is hostile on the western boundary with the heavily trafficked A3 artery. The quality of the landscape buffer improved considerably, enhancing the appearance of the development from the road and mitigating the impact of this road on the quality of this residential neighbourhood next to a very busy traffic artery. We commended the clarity of the east-west spine but recommended improvements to the character and appearance of the landscape to draw people through the development. We recommended that much higher quality public space at the heart of the development would attract residents from the surrounding areas into the development as a destination, ensuring that it does not become an introverted housing enclave. Improvements to the pedestrian link with the station and with the roundabout crossing have improved the connectivity of the development and will help to integrate this significant housing scheme into the wider Tolworth community.