A residential scheme featuring a landscape concept by Grant Associates has won the ‘Best New Place to Live’ award and the ‘Mayor’s Award for Planning Excellence’ at the 2016 London Planning Awards.
Trafalgar Place, designed by dRMM Architects, is a development of 235 homes that forms the first part of a £1.5bn regeneration scheme of the former Heygate Estate at Elephant & Castle by developer Lend Lease in partnership with Southwark Council.
Key to the scheme’s final identity was the creation of a landscape strategy by Grant Associates that retained and integrated a large proportion of the former estate’s mature tree canopy. The strategy also saw the planting of 100 new trees on the site and in the local area.
Initial masterplans for Elephant and Castle overlooked the trees’ contribution to the neighbourhood’s character. Grant Associates and Lend Lease carried out a wholesale review of the existing trees to inform the emerging masterplan. The review focused on exploring how the vision of integrating the best of the existing mature trees could be realised.
Working closely with an arboriculturalist and the design team Grant Associates developed a landscape concept that capitalised on the value of the existing trees, and realised a strategy in which the best trees could be successfully incorporated.
New public spaces have been created with a woodland walk adjacent to Victory Primary School to the north. In addition, a central thoroughfare – Paragon Row – now links the communities to the east and west of the site. A landscaped courtyard at Trafalgar Place’s heart serves as a focal point for residents and visitors, creating civic space to help cultivate community spirit.
Grant Associates supported the development through all stages of pre-planning, with the retention of quality trees and the enhancement of green spaces playing a role in the subsequent planning award.
Trafalgar Place is a tenure-blind development that mixes private and social housing, integrating the apartments’ design with the historic fabric of the predominantly 19th century neighbourhood. The former Heygate Estate was renowned for its monolithic architecture of huge concrete tenant blocks, linked by a warren of tunnels and elevated walkways.
By 2025, Lend Lease and Southwark Council aim to regenerate a total of 28 acres of land across three sites in Elephant & Castle. The project includes delivering 3,000 new homes, plus office, retail, community and leisure space.