Who is the developer/client of the project?
Clarion Housing Group
Describe the context of this project and its contribution to the urban life and user experience of the place in 250 words max. and please upload an image of the project in its wider context or a drawing that best situates the project in its location.
Whilst High Path is well located on the edge of the Wandle River ecological corridor near Wimbledon with great links to central London, it is currently a tangle of competing uses and illegible streetscapes. The estate was dislocated from its surrounding neighbourhood and its socio-economic profile was found to have higher levels of deprivation compared to LB Merton as a whole. These were predicted to exacerbate over time without social or physical intervention.
Bound on all sides by main roads, with many routes within the estate terminating in cul-de-sacs or bin stores, the site lacks legibility and is over-permeable, with too many routes caused by the segregation of vehicular and pedestrian movement. Existing buildings block or deflect extensions of the surrounding street pattern, restricting movement across the wider neighbourhood and forming barriers across all its physical edges. They lack definition between public and private spaces and have poor interfaces between buildings to public routes at the ground floor. Pockets of open space are not large enough to be functional and have become neglected and underused.
High Path sits in the eastern half of the Wandle River ecological corridor, which is an important visitor attraction and ‘green connection’ into central London. It is also a National Cycle Route and home to a wide variety of wildlife. To the north of the estate’s boundary of Merton High Street lies the predominately Victorian neighbourhood of South Wimbledon, and beyond the estate’s southern boundary of High Park is Merton.
Please describe your approach to this future place and its mix of uses. How will it function as a vibrant place? How does it knit into, and serve the needs of, the wider area? 250 words max. Please attach a detailed masterplan that shows the mix of uses and public spaces.
The masterplan, developed in consultation with the local community and other stakeholders, has five key objectives:
Re-connecting neighbourhoods: Create a series of traditional streets that link the site to the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Amenity space for all: A new park for the wider community celebrating High Path as a new place that contributes to the wider neighbourhoods and establishes increased values to overlooking properties.
Placemaking: Distinct characters across the masterplan to offer variety.
Re-thinking the Victorian block: Repair the urban fabric by applying our philosophy of ‘contextual reintegration’, and introducing new perimeter blocks along traditional streets.
Linking to the local neighbourhood: Build upon the rich heritage and diverse characters of the surrounding neighbourhoods to add value.
The proposed character areas will help High Path become a unique and memorable place. At the heart, is a new neighbourhood park. Designed to respond to the existing urban infrastructure, the park creates desire lines from north to south and east to west and along inner streets. Landscaped areas with lush planting, sensory gardens, simple paths, and play areas create a multifunctional green haven for all ages year-round. This is bookended by hard landscaping to the south and north providing contrast, whilst drawing people in from Merton High Street.
Creating a destination on the edge of Wandle River is also an objective. Cycle paths will encourage the community to enjoy the trail. The planting references the work of William Morris who once ran a textile mill at Merton Abbey on the river bank.
How will the carbon use/material impact of the development of this new place be mitigated? What is the sustainability strategy? 250 words max. Please attach an image or drawing of the project that supports your statement.
The sustainability strategy promotes sustainable lifestyle choices, embraces social value and community engagement, improves health and air quality (reduces Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)), maximises ecological value and embraces circular economy and standardisation.
Early consultation promoted awareness of environmental opportunities from regeneration. Introducing Regeneration Week into Merton Abbey Primary School’s curriculum saw workshops for children including making bird feeders, a recycling game and building green roofs.
The strategy also includes;
On-site saving in carbon emissions of at least 35% over baseline Part L 2013 regulated emissions.
Energy demand reduction measures including well-insulated building fabric, high levels of air tightness and attention to thermal bridging details.
Hybrid CHP/ASHP system to improve site-wide carbon emissions reductions.
Improvement of walking and cycling routes.
Buildings with optimal levels of sunlight and daylight and natural ventilation.
Mitigating negative environmental impacts, including noise, pollution and microclimatic effects.
Residents’ training on the operation of their homes to maximise savings.
Water conservation measures to make efficient use of potable water, including aerated taps and showers and low volume WCs.
Inclusion of photovoltaics.
Creation of a central soft landscaped park.
Circular Economy-based pre-demolition audits of buildings and upscaling of materials.
We initiated an extensive tree-planting programme using native/local species procured at early stages and planted in a local meanwhile-use tree nursery so they mature on-site for later deployment to their final locations in the future phases.
The High Path development must achieve zero carbon through the above measures, including on-site, local, and borough level emission offsetting initiatives.
What do you see as the greatest contribution of this project to the citizens of this future place and its surrounding areas? You may also attach an additional image or document to support your entry.
Changing the perception of an estate to an integrated neighbourhood.
Building trust and keeping the existing community in situ and rehoused first through the decant strategy.
Creating a new, usable park for all - opposed by the local authority initially.
Introducing multi generation homes to enable generations to support each other.
Re-establishing Merton High Street with new commercial, retail, workshops and community facilities to complement and not compete with existing business. Working with Clarion to develop affordable models to rent and flexible for the future.
Minimising decant off-site.
A ‘Self Build Play’ programme where, in close collaboration with pupils from the local school, Youth Group and residents to co-design a multigenerational public space which would form part of the new phased park.
Working with local youth groups to enable access to professionals.
Work experience for year 10s.
Working with the community to create Mentorship Programmes with local pupils and graduates from the area.
Creation of a Tree Nursery to provide trees for later in the delivery of the new neighbourhood.
Regeneration week every year linked with the school syllabus to learn about scale, sustainability and principles of regeneration/ masterplanning.
Talks to local schools regarding access to professions.
Our approach challenged the original brief for a predominantly residential development and has resulted in a masterplan with 10,000sqm of commercial, retail, office, studio workshops and community uses, along with traditional streetscapes, a high quality public park and public realm; a truly transformational change for successive generations.