Back to the 2024 Shortlist Sustainability

300 Harrow Road

Sponsored by
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Harrow Dec23 Jim Stephenson 6 Web Res


Location: Westminster, London

Brick Manufacturers: Wienerberger Limited / Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC

Brick Names: Forum Smoked Prata, White Tonal Glazed & Pagus Brown Black 

Architect: Child Graddon Lewis

Brickwork Contractor:  A V V Solutions Ltd.

About the project

Westminster City Council’s 300 Harrow Road scheme has created 112 new homes, all for affordable rent, in a London Borough where housing is one of its residents’ most pressing needs.

The site was home to a 1960s tower block, nursery and community building. The new development adds new homes in three blocks, stepping down in height from 16 storeys to ten to six with nursery and communal space provided in the lower floors. There is an enterprise space above the community hall and a café with external space, next to the Regents Canal which runs past the scheme.

A new green, playable area replaces the carpark at the centre of the site, designed with input from local residents for use by the wider community. The new layout improves the route between Harrow Road and the canal to encourage walking and cycling. The pavement by the busy road has been doubled in width.

The scheme is carbon zero-ready; powered throughout by electricity so that when the grid is decarbonised, these buildings will be too. This is achieved through an air source heat pump, the largest of its kind in the UK currently. Additionally, there are PV panels on the roofs.

The apartments vary from studio to three bedrooms, providing accommodation for a range of families. There are typically four homes per core to maximise the number of dual-aspect apartments which gives better natural lighting and ventilation.

Carbon savings for the development have been calculated at 110 tonnes of CO2e per year or 72% when compared to a Building Regulation-compliant scheme.

MMC was at the heart of the construction methodology, including all vertical structure, balconies, staircases, internal services and service cupboards. An additional nursery for operator LEYF has also been created as part of the scheme within walking distance of the site boundary, entirely constructed off-site and in operation since 2021.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn, recently selected 300 Harrow Road to announce his pre-Mayoral election promise towards building new homes alongside Labour leader Keir Starmer, in which they also met with residents of the scheme. Regeneration teams at Tower Hamlets, Islington, Waltham Forest, Hackney and Newham Councils also recently visited the scheme as an exemplar case study of designing and delivering affordable housing.

“The completion of Harrow Road is a momentous step for our community. Previously only 17 homes were going to be for social rent under this scheme and we increased this to 87 new homes for social rent and 25 for intermediate rent.

“The investment in facilities for the local community will also transform the area and provide benefits for local people for years to come.”
Cllr Matt Noble, Climate Action, Regeneration & Growth, Westminster City Council

300 Harrow Road involved a comprehensive range of stakeholders, each with their own requirements; Housing, Childrens’ Services, Commercial Property, Recreation & Parks, Place Team, Highways and Maintenance. In addition, proposals needed to address the needs of two nursery providers.

Public exhibitions and drop-in sessions included interactive tools to allow residents to explore and communicate their ideas for the scheme. The landscaping design particularly benefited from this input, with spaces and features for more older residents introduced. Separate design workshops with residents’ groups were held to discuss and agree materiality for the scheme and balcony design to mitigate overlooking.

Ultimately, 300 Harrow Road demonstrates the unique opportunities that arise when councils are able to deliver on their own land. The opportunity to reshape the public realm and help address wider strategic goals was the starting point for the project. This resulted in new pedestrian routes, play facilities, a new public plaza and wider pavements that will transform this corner of the Harrow Road and access to the adjacent canal.

Whilst affordable housing provision is a critical requirement for London, places also need a breadth and mix of wider uses to become successful neighborhoods. Community and commercial uses have been strategically placed to activate the public realm and promote the continued success of this vibrant, thriving part of London.

In recent months, the scheme has been published as an exemplar development case study in The Architects’ Journal and the NLA’s research reports Resilient London and Local London – both of which are focused upon innovative approaches towards the effects of climate change and rethinking the future resilience of local town centres. It has already this year won Property Week’s RESI Award for Best Development, and is currently shortlisted for the London Mayor’s Building London Planning Awards, the RICS Awards, LABC Excellence Awards and Construction News Awards.

Sponsored by Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC

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As Britain’s Brick Specialists, Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC unites the best in clay traditions. The Group represents seven of the most recognised premium brands across the UK and Europe: Blockleys, Carlton, Charnwood,, Freshfield Lane, Hathern Terra Cotta and Michelmersh, producing over 125 million handmade and machine-made clay bricks and pavers annually. Using modernised production methods that emphasise sustainable building solutions and adhere to the most stringent production requirements, Michelmersh guarantees high quality product standards with a low ecological footprint.

Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC