London & South East

Housing for Bell Green

Bell Green Gas Works

Phase Two of the Bell Green Development project will bring 156 new residential flats to Lower Sydenham in south London. Under the project, the disused Bell Green Gas Works site will be transformed into a retail park with adjacent residential accommodation.

Design development work for the £16 million phase began in March 2010 and was followed by initial groundwork in October 2010. Funded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and the Circle Housing Group, the project has been carried out by main contractor Willmott Dixon Group and architect bptw partnership.

Even after Castlemore Securities Ltd went into administration subsequent to purchasing the land in 2009, Circle Housing Group continued with its purchase of part of the site for the residential units, whilst the remainder of the site was taken for retail use.

Phase One of the project is now completed and has seen the construction of a new Sainsbury’s supermarket with an accompanying car park on an area of land adjacent to the residential block.

Phase Two comprises the construction of the residential block, which itself will incorporate 156 flats, two commercial units, a residential car park and associated infrastructure works. Additional commercial units will be constructed during Phase Three of the project.

Bell Green Gas Works

Comprising a mixture of one and two-bedroom flats, the 156 units are divided into 85 rented units and 71 units under the rent to buy scheme. This scheme is a government initiative that allows tenants to rent a property for a predefined period of time before purchasing it once the tenancy ends.

The main accommodation is divided into two structures that are provisionally entitled the north and south blocks. Constructed using a traditional concrete frame, the building boasts a unique circular design and features an external brick-block facade with a rendered finish and UPVC windows.

The north block is a four-storey structure that comprises two commercial units on the ground floor and twenty flats on the three storeys above. The remaining 136 units are contained within the four-storey south block.

A combined heat and power plant (CHP) will be built on the site and will act as a centralised boiler, providing heating and hot water for all of the residents. In addition, a number of photovoltaic panels will be installed on the roof in order to provide an additional source of hot water.

Such environmentally sustainable features will enable the housing units to achieve a Code 3 classification for Sustainable Homes, which was part of the funding agreement set out by the HCA. Furthermore, the high levels of sustainability will allow the development to meet guidelines set out by the Mayor of London, including the ambitious aim to generate 20% of energy via renewable technology.

Circle Housing Group Development Manager, Luke Chandler, said:

“The primary intention of Phase Two is to provide London with much-needed affordable accommodation on an area of land that is currently undergoing radical redevelopment. Work continues to progress well and we haven’t encountered any major problems so far.

“Bell Green’s new neighbour – Sainsbury’s – has also been very accommodating. Indeed, they have allowed all of the contractors and subcontractors to use their car park, which has made the job significantly easier.

“Nevertheless, this is still a very challenging project and everyone has had to work very hard to construct this phase to a very tight budget, particularly as Phase Two was tendered in an extremely difficult climate. Despite this, everyone has remained remarkably positive throughout the construction phase and I have no doubt that work will be completed on time.

“It’s always satisfying to see any project get off the ground but the unique design of the building truly sets this one apart from the more traditional social housing projects. Although some social housing developments can be rather rudimentary in their construction, this one most certainly isn’t. This is incredibly pleasing to know, especially as the development continues to take shape.”

Works yet to be carried out for Phase Two include an extensive internal fit-out programme and additional landscaping. Landscaping will include a stunning artwork installation that has been designed by a local artist and is linked to the local history of the site – in the process satisfying one of the original planning agreements.

Phase Two of the Bell Green Development is scheduled for completion in July 2012.

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