Applying the EDG in practice: Mix development for private and affordable housing
Development name: St Chads
Location: Tilbury, Essex
Size: 3.25 hectares
Architect: Bell Phillips Architects
Developer: Gloriana (Thurrock Council)
Accommodation type: 128 houses; 57no. 2-beds, 63no. 3-beds, 8no. 4-beds.
Located in Tilbury, Essex, St Chad’s is a new housing development for Thurrock Council providing a mix of houses for private and affordable rent. This is the first development undertaken through a new wholly owned company, named ‘Gloriana’.
The scheme comprises 128 new homes, a mix of two, three and four bed houses that give new life to a redundant brownfield site. In a post-war suburban context lacking in character, the design seeks to fill the development with a sense of place by visually connecting the site with the docks: an intrinsic component of the town’s development and identity.
The design of the scheme has carefully considered the wider social, health and wellbeing factors that contribute to a successful neighbourhood. As well as creating a sense of place for the residents, the development has been designed to incorporate wider connections that enable it to sit comfortably within its landscape.
The new development is laid out with a grid pattern of streets that extends and connects with the existing street arrangement, while a new public space arranged diagonally across the street layout connects existing public space in the town with the surrounding countryside. This linear park frames views towards the cranes of Tilbury Docks, a significant landmark within the town. The connection provides a level of shared public amenity and landscaping that can be used by all as well as serving as a swale that helps drain the site in a sustainable way. Simple play structures in the form of logs and timber stepping stones are provided for children across the development, while a larger play area at the apex of the diagonal streets provides a safe and secure location overlooked by the neighbourhood green.
Within the development, three different street typologies have been developed; avenue, street and mews, each of which has its own character, dimension and housing typology in order to define a clear hierarchy of place. Wide streets with active frontages encourage neighbourliness, passive surveillance, and form a safe and generous public realm that is readily accessible by all users. Designated as shared surface ‘home zones’, streets are designed specifically to meet the needs of pedestrians and cyclists, and to help reduce the speed and dominance of vehicles. Two key house types, the townhouse and courtyard house, offer variation across the development and provide a mix of house sizes to meet different occupants’ needs.
Houses use a palette of variegated brick with pitched roofs and crisp modern detailing that gives the development a familiar yet modern feeling, and offers an evolved model for the suburban housing estate.
St Chad’s striking aesthetics raise the bar in terms of design quality, while the carefully considered mix of affordable and market sale housing is intended to improve the social mix and support a balanced neighbourhood. The development further meets the council’s aim of creating more affordable housing, but also raising aspirations.
The development won an RIBA East Award in 2018 with the judges stating; “They could show the housebuilders a thing or two about placemaking, even in areas of low house values and little investment. These are houses that would be prized and pampered in more privileged parts of the UK.”
Page updated: 25/04/2023