Our masterplan for Swanley’s town centre gives the town a new urban centre while retaining strong echoes of Swanley’s horticultural heritage. The design creates a strong new public realm between Swanley Square and the recreation ground which will bring public transport to the town centre for the first time, as well as improving connectivity & legibility especially towards the railway station. It makes a huge step forward in the recognition of Swanley as an emerging and attractive commuter town, committed to delivering a positive social and economic change.
The project which will bring positive, transformational change to an aging shopping centre has been carefully designed with the concept of community at its heart. It will revitalise Swanley as a whole, improving the retail offer and attracting more investment and leisure to spend. We are confident that the new high quality residential and commercial space, along with a new and sustainable public realm that fosters vibrancy and inspires the people who live and work there will usher in an exciting new chapter for Swanley.
Our philosophy which sits behind the broader urban design principles was to ensure that an architecture which conveys the horticultural sprits of Swanley in the Victorian Era could sit at the centre of the aesthetic.
This was achieved in a number of ways which would fully integrate the culture of greening and community horticulture into the architecture.
Alongside this fully integrated ethos of Swanley’s heritage U+I recognised HLM’s unique ability to bring viability by virtue of our highly recognised expertise in terms of bringing creative but deliverable design expertise to ‘weave’ a complex array of street level uses into mixed-use design; while imperatively maintain highly efficient outcomes at both the upper and lower levels (see again at The Movement & Enderby Wharf case studies). HLM had already delivered complex ‘air rights’ schemes for them at Canary south and The Movement for U+I. Successful outcomes in these complex schemes can only be achieved with a detailed understanding of function driven design, fully informed with our knowledge of all of the related issues such as fire strategy, service access, residential standard & key principles around tenure mix/access and the requirements of retailers. The project, which will transform the town centre from an under-loved shopping centre and a sea of grade parking service routes/yeards into a high quality mixed-use residential shopping & community location is currently in Planning and in total comprises:- 303 New Homes (132 build-to-rent, 171 private sale), 4300m2 Retail, Restaurant & Café, 950m2 Community and 338 Parking Spaces.
The principle urban design premise has been to reduce the impact of grade level parking which has left much of the town centre underutilised and does not contribute positively either to the shopping centre itself or the adjacent recreation ground. Parking has therefore been rearranged such that the vast majority is located within a new multi-storey car park beneath the PRS block, this being constructed in Phase One to free-up the remainder of the site for future development. This was achieved through clear legal definition of all technical and legal requirements bound up in existing retail leases, alongside the strategic rationalisation of traffic flows to create a clear separation of HGV, service vehicles and domestic/retail traffic away from pedestrian routes by encouraging traffic to enter and leave via the same route, rather than traverse the entire site which creates numerous conflicts and would have negatively impacted at the site entrance, with the multi-storey element located in both above-ground and basement elements, utilising the slope of the site and balancing aesthetic and viability considerations.
The massing of the proposal and particularly that of Block One which at eleven storeys will become the tallest structure in Swanley, has been carefully developed to do so in a way that is sensitive to a number of contextual considerations. The stepped building forms help to break down the sense of mass that buildings of this scale may otherwise produce. The selection of materials and quality of design detail have also been utilised to create buildings of distinct character which remain sympathetic to the generally low-rise context of the town centre.
"The U+I Group think that Swanley has huge potential and HLM’s excellent and distinctively designed scheme for this mixed-use development represents a great start to delivering a huge step forward in the recognition of Swanley as an attractive, emerging commuter town."
Matthew Weiner, CEO of U+I