The wet and windy design meeting

Marianne kicked off our time together with an overview of the Design and Development Process, giving us a sense of the provisional timescale that’s being looked at for making everything happen and where our meetings sit within all that.
As things currently stand our input, and the information gathered through the rest of the community consultation, should lead to the submission of a planning permission application in March, and as long as that’s granted, once the specifics have been finalised, we could be looking at a year or so for the construction work to take place.
Of course, wise words about best laid plans come to mind; money needs to be found and funding deadlines factored in to all this, plus there’ll inevitably be surprises, shocks and frustration along the way. Nevertheless, the hope is that there’ll be handover to the tenants at some point in 2020.
All of which means that we should be looking at a radically different high street in less than two years!


We then got a lesson in architectural good sense, and were introduced to the project management triangle. This is made up of three points – time, quality and cost – and whilst a project can usually meet two of them without too much difficulty, to do so means that the third will pay a price.
In effect, this means there are three possibilities:
– To do something quickly and cheaply will see the quality of what’s made suffer
– To do it well and fast will cost more
– To have good quality but to keep to a tight budget will mean that things take longer
As things take shape, choices will need to be made, and we’ll most likely find ourselves moving down one of these paths. Whilst acknowledging that compromise will have to be made could take the edge off some our idealism, it’s clearly best to be pre-warned ahead of time so we can make the best-informed choices that we can.


The conversation then shifted to a discussion about our personal ambitions for the project – how someone wants a flat for their mum, and someone else is after space to run their business. “Forcing tenants to make pies” was also proposed as criteria, and whilst these were obviously jokes, a serious point that arose was how there will need to be a fair and clear allocation policy developed by the CLT.

Other hopes that people had for both the project and the neighbourhood included a keen awareness of shifting how the area is seen, both by local people and those from further afield. This was about pride and value – as someone said, it should be the kind of area where people want to stop and take a photo – perhaps because of the architecture, or perhaps because of birds and greenery!
A sense of community was also key for many in the group, as well as an acknowledgement that we’re not coming into a fresh, untouched space fresh; we have neighbours and there are people already using the area. Whatever we decide, integration with this pre-existing engagement needs to be considered.
The make up of the accommodation was also seen as key – putting single tenants next to families might not be ideal, whilst the potential for live work spaces for health practitioners, artists and other such workers was also discussed.


As we moved on to look at the latest layouts from Marianne and Helen (who’d done a fantastic job of incorporating some of the suggestions from the last meeting), we responded to some specific question they had such as which rooms should face the road and which should face the rec? We also talked of how, perhaps, as long as some outside space remained, it might make sense – especially considering weather like that evening’s – to build out into the yards, to make a feature of the outriggers that extend from the back of the terraces.

To end, special thanks to The Church pub on Oakfield Road – not only did they make us feel very welcome in their upstairs space, they were clearly interested in what we were doing and gave us a gorgeous spread of sandwiches and tea for free.
The beer’s cheap, the food’s tasty, and the space is incredible, make sure you give them a visit next time you’re passing…

Just the one introduction to the Design Team for you this time, to Paul (there’s just audio – no need to adjust your set):

Key Terms

These are the bits of terraced houses, normally a part of the kitchen or bathroom, that stick out the back, into the yard.

Design and Development Process
The whole shebang!
From start to finish, everything that is involved in a building project.
It can be divided up into five stages:
– Inception and Briefing: The initial idea and deciding what it actually is that’s being done.
– Design and Planning: Working out things like how the walls are going to be arranged, the layout of the different spaces, and what kind of materials are going to be used externally. This all feeds into the planning application.
– Technical Design: Making decisions about the more technical details, what fixtures, finishes and fittings are going to be used.
– Construction: The actual building work.
– Handover: When people move in and take over the space.

Planning Permission
In order to undertake any significant kind building work, planning permission needs to be applied for, and then given by the council.

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