Contractor: J & L Build Ltd Architect: PL Architects Ltd Project: Development of 14 New Build Homes, Hunsdon, East Hertfordshire
Located to the east of the village of Hunsdon, Hunsdon Lodge Farmhouse came with a green field of approximately 1.19 hectares. The field was used to grow cereals until the late 1980s when the site became unusable for modern farming methods. The insufficient size of the plot, poor quality soil, restricted access for large agricultural equipment, and the close proximity of housing resulted in the site being granted planning permission to provide 15 new build homes (including 4 affordable homes).
The homes are two storeys with a mixture of semi-detached and detached. The mature band of trees on the eastern boundary have been retained. Overall, by modern standards, the development density is low. This is reflected in the project ideals to provide a scheme that mirrors the rural qualities of the site and is in-keeping with the local area. This, in turn, has created a high-quality environment.
During the planning stage, neighbours raised objections and concerns. The contractors, however, were sensitive to the needs of the village. Resulting in a turnaround of opinion especially upon completion of the project.
Environmental factors affected the site. Large trees, newts and bats, an archaeological dig, and the preservation of an existing memorial also had to be considered. Recognising the impact of surface water on neighbouring land, the developers sought solutions. Rainwater gardens overcame the problem. Rain gardens are attractive, functional landscaped areas designed to capture and filter stormwater before it runs off into storm drains. They collect water in natural or constructed shallow vegetated depressions and allow it to soak into the ground slowly. This method reduces and avoids the need for additional irrigation.
The properties are as energy-efficient as possible. Solar panels, water butts and good quality insulation all feature in these new build homes together with energy-efficient windows and doors. The Hardcore used in the road is made from recycled concrete, and brick rubble is used as a foundation for the patios at the new dwellings.
Hertfordshire Building Control and the contractors held meetings from the outset. Furthermore, with the future homeowners in mind, it was beneficial that ideas and solutions could be worked through together, using the expertise of both parties.
The New Development
The developer J&L Build working in partnership with Hastoe Groupprovide four 2 and 3 bedroom affordable new build homes. Built to an excellent standard and fitted with the same innovative and sustainable methods as the homes for private sale, they are an asset for the local community. The layout and landscaping together with the materials (using local suppliers where possible) and design of the dwellings, complement the area. The Project Managers involved throughout the project were not only reassured by how the development progressed but also extremely satisfied with the end result and the lack of snagging and issues that they had to face ending in good quality, well designed homes.