Conran and Partners have created a diverse collection of townhouses, maisonettes and apartments on a former Greyhound Stadium in North London
Although the greyhounds may no longer run on the track at Walthamstow Stadium, the spirit of this former race track lives on. Conran and Partners’ vision, as master planners and architects, has transformed the historic greyhound racing track in Walthamstow into a residential development. The scheme provides 294 social housing units (for London & Quadrant) on this former brownfield site, with family homes around the perimeter of the site, and apartment blocks at the heart of the scheme. London and Quadrant’s objective was to maximise affordability for the borough, catering to a wide audience including first time buyers, families and those struggling to afford renting on the private market. 64% of the 294 homes available are under the Shared Ownership and Affordable Rent Schemes, promoting aspirational yet affordable living.
The diverse collection of townhouses, maisonettes and apartments range from one to four-bed dwellings. With prices starting from £80,000 for a 25% share of a one bedroom shared ownership apartment, which required a minimum deposit of just £8,000, the scheme represented an extremely affordable offering for first time buyers. The £50m masterplan has been a big success commercially with all homes now sold.
The project is a remarkable reinvention of a landmark heritage site and great care has been taken to prominently reference the listed heritage elements across the 32,300 sq m site. Conran and Partners worked closely with Waltham Forest, Historic England, GLA and the Environment Agency to create a design that responds sensitively to the listed buildings and the neighbouring community. Close links were forged with neighbouring interest groups, including Rushcroft School, the local church and members of the allotment society.
The landmark Grade II listed Tote Building will accommodate an active sport and leisure facility, including a gym – a facility that can be used by the neighbouring Rushcroft Academy. The former listed kennels have also been restored and reconfigured as potting storage sheds servicing the residents’ pocket allotments.
The scheme builds up in density towards the centre of the site – the central podium includes attractive community gardens and play areas, as well as a new nursery for 80 children and a crèche. An open green space at the centre of the site clearly references the original layout of the race track, with tree-lined boulevards reinforcing the visual axial connection between the former Grade II-listed kennels and main Tote Board. The track’s finishing line has been preserved as a brass marker for posterity.
The eight-storey building responds to the open aspect adjacent to the site and is clad in a light bronze metallic finish: dynamic on a sunny day to create a local beacon for the new development.
Landscaping is designed to link with the site’s surrounding green areas - softening the edges of the development in this way has knitted the masterplan into the existing community. The environmental strategy was challenging – the site was subject to severe flooding and included a culverted section of the local River Ching. The design team led by Conran and Partners developed an holistic flood solution in close consultation with the Environment agency in order to sensitively maximise developable area for the new homes.
The scheme also incorporates biodiversity and sustainability strategies as part of an integrated landscaping solution, maintaining and enhancing the quality of the public realm. In addition, the site is now far more accessible and ‘porous’ than before – there are clear pedestrian routes across the site and care has been taken to set-up and frame views of the listed structures as points of interest for both residents and visitors.
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