Holmwood

This is a locally distinctive retirement living development for PegasusLife. It is located in the Brockenhurst Conservation Area, at the heart of the New Forest National Park. The scheme provides 22 apartments and 2 mews houses, and includes the conversion and extension of a designated heritage asset. We were retained through RIBA Stages 1-6 in a Design and Build Contract.

Project Description

Holmwood is a development of 24 two- and three-bedroom apartments for retirement living developer, PegasusLife, located in the Brockenhurst Conservation Area, at the centre of the New Forest National Park.

It involved the refurbishment and extension of a heritage asset and a sensitive development in the grounds. Our approach was to return the heritage asset to its former glory, whilst adding a subservient development of new apartments and mews houses in the grounds.

The existing Victorian villa sits at the centre of the site, fronting The Rise. It was swamped by poor quality 20th Century extensions and the whole building had fallen into disrepair. The strategic approach was to remove the poor quality extensions, restore the fabric of the original villa and extend it sympathetically so that the original architecture could be read. Two additional new build villas and a pair of smaller mews houses were then positioned, set back within the grounds, opening up views of the landscape setting and two veteran oak trees.

We developed an apartment typology that allowed high density apartments in a very low-density residential neighbourhood, working with tight tree constraints and the New Forest vernacular. The layout utilises the sloping site levels, preserving the prominence of the original building in the street-scene. The design is a contemporary interpretation of the local vernacular and successfully integrates modern apartments into this established setting.

The new build villas are built of red brick, decorative plain tile hanging and timber cladding with a plain tile pitched roof. Generous balconies are integrated within a 'thickened skin' ensuring the buildings simple vernacular forms are maintained.

This is the largest residential development to have secured planning permission in the New Forest National Park.

Challenges we overcame

This was a challenging scheme because of the heritage asset and the Conservation Area/National Park context. Our initial scheme was rejected at planning committee, despite supportive pre-application advice. In response, we worked with our client to reconceive the design and responded carefully to the concerns. Our solution worked respectfully with the heritage asset and maintained a domestic appearance to the new buildings by wrapping the building envelope around stacking external balconies. Unfortunately, the scheme was again refused planning permission on political grounds, however the reason for refusal was weak and the client appealed. We prepared additional supporting documents and the application was approved on appeal. The result is we secured the largest housing development approved in the National Park.