The Ferrier Estate’s uniform and introverted character, along with its location on a former RAF base and distinctive perimeter road, served to isolate the estate from the surrounding neighbourhoodsand communities. The estate suffered serious social decline in the 1980s, and by the late 1990s had fallen into a state of disrepair – many of its 1900 dwellings boarded up and derelict. The council took the decision to demolish the entire estate to create a new sustainable London suburb.
The Kidbrooke masterplan stitches the new development into the adjoining residential neighbourhoods of Blackheath and Eltham. Over 50 hectares of land have been allocated as Metropolitan Open Land including a new sinuous ‘green river’ running through the centre of the site, which is raised up to the level of Kidbrooke Park Road to join the two halves of the development and create a ‘park road’. Around 37 hectares of built area accommodates 4,800 new homes, with the scale of buildings reducing towards the edges of the plan as terraces of houses respond to thesensitive and intimate context at the boundaries.
A mixed-use hub provides a range of commercial, transport and community facilities at an appropriate suburban scale, and safe and attractive routesfor pedestrians and cyclists are provided along ‘green fingers’ which run along all the desire lines and link to the surrounding neighbourhoods.A focus of the design process has been the identification of the ingredients required to make a sustainable suburban development; including a mix of building types and uses, set within an attractive, safe and legible environment.
A strong identity applies to local streets and spaces as well as to phased developments. The residential environment is scaled in response to human needs, and particular attention has been paid to the edges of the masterplan site, a sensitive response to the surrounding neighbourhood blurring the old and the new and providing a strong framework for integration over time.Planning permission for the masterplan and Phase One detailed application was achieved in a little over four months from the submission of the hybrid planning application. This first phase of the scheme is now on site.