At the beginning of April, Cambridge City Council granted permission for a 182 dwelling scheme at the Mill Road Depot. The approval will also enable the laying out of a site that could become a future home for the City’s YMCA. TEP has provided landscape design expertise, working alongside architects Allies & Morrison and engineers Mott McDonald.
Our landscape proposals will create a new park and public open space equating to 28% of the overall area of the site. This is attained by designing a podium landscape set over basement car parking. The housing includes mews and terraced homes, detached houses and six apartment blocks, which would make up the majority of the dwellings. Overall 50% of the scheme will be affordable housing, something that is vital in Cambridge.
Steve McCoy, TEP’s urban design Associate says, “The design provides a new neighbourhood park with equipped play areas for younger and older children, a large lawn for informal recreation and seating areas for socialising and relaxation. There are leafy and safe pedestrian priority streets, suitable for doorstep play with natural surveillance and the circulation and access has been well considered to ensure good connectivity with the surrounding network of footpaths, cycleways and streets. Our design includes open swales which attenuate rainwater, with ornamental grass planting and playful features creating a joyful and seasonal landscape setting for the new homes.”
One of the challenges of the site is the need for much of the future landscape to be installed on a “podium” due to the need for underground parking. Steve McCoy again, “Whilst the podium does constrain the ability to have sufficient growing medium for a well-treed site, the ability to remove many cars from the streetscape means we can create a more tranquil urban environment.”
TEP is working for the Cambridge Investment Partnership. CIP is a jointly owned company formed by developers Hill and Cambridge City Council, which works to fund the development of council-owned land to provide a range of market and affordable housing. TEP enjoys a long and fruitful relationship with Hill on several challenging urban regeneration schemes where the quality of design is all-important to gaining local support.