Applying the EDG in practice: Exemplar Design

St Johns Estate Case Study

Development name: St Johns

Location: Chelmsford, Essex

Size: 2.6 Hectares

Architect: Metropolis Planning and Design

Developer: Inland Homes (lead developer)

Accommodation type: 131 units including conversions and new builds.

The St Johns development delivered by Inland Homes (North parcels) and Linden Homes (South parcels) consists of 1 & 2 bedroom apartments and 2, 3 & 4 bedroom houses, 18 of which are delivered as affordable housing. The entire site lies within the St. John’s Hospital conservation area. The development provides open views over Chelmsford Golf Course as well as on site landscaped open space.

The St Johns site was used as a barracks during the Napoleonic War and in 1837 the Chelmsford Union Workhouse was constructed on part of the site of which the three storey range to the south of the main administration block is the only surviving element. Following a fire in 1886 a new workhouse was constructed in 1889 to the designs of Frederick Chancellor, these buildings remain substantially complete. The site has had a continuous healthcare function during the 20th Century when the significant developments were the construction of the infirmary and wartime and post war “temporary” structures to the south. Although none of the buildings are listed the majority of the historic buildings have been retained for residential re-use and the conversions have been made to sensitively reflect the character of the original buildings.

Economic sustainability is celebrated by the Essex design guide, St Johns has delivered a number of economic benefits to the local community, contributing to the economic sustainability of the development. These benefits are listed below:

  • £950,000 generated for Chelmsford City Council and £237,000 for Essex County Council through the New Homes Bonus (this funding is not ring fenced).
  • Contribution of £680,000 made to local infrastructure projects, in addition to highways improvements along the access road and the provision of onsite open space and play equipment. 
  • 80 jobs have been created on site, with all contractors based within a 25 mile radius. 
  • 85% of materials used on site have travelled no more than 40 miles.
  • Two apprentices are on site learning valuable skills

The development also encompasses a number of the EDG's points on development layout and material choices. 

  • The dwellings are used to frame spaces within the development forming enclosure creating a comfortable pedestrian scale.
  • Routes are defined by materials and street treatments through the site contributing to way finding and legibility
  • The architecture and the use of materials is innovative and of the traditional Essex vernacular character as advised by the EDG.

Page updated: 25/04/2023

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