Brook Street

Development of 0.13 hectares (0.32 acres) of former employment land located within the conservation area of the historic market town of St. Neots for Callisto Properties

We obtained planning consent in August 2011 for a small mixed-use project comprising 14 dwellings and 139m² of A2/B1 Employment Uses.  The design combines a range of traditional vernacular and complementary contemporary buildings.

The perimeter block provides good surveillance and security and helps to define streetscape to Brook Street and Church Street and riverscape to Hen Brook.  It also creates a clear definition between the public and the private realm, concealing safe and secure parking in addition to providing incidental play space for children beyond private courtyard gardens.  Vehicular access to the site has been moved to a safer location away from the Brook Street/Church Street junction, adjacent to the retained chimney which now emphasises this new access to the site.

Perimeter block form has been broken down using a range of storey heights, ridge heights, eaves heights and, although the proposals are for a modest size of development, a number of architectural styles to provide a more organic form and layout.  Georgian house, pre-Georgian cottages and restoration of the original early 19 century mill respect the local context, whilst the contemporary contextual corner building of apartments and town houses gives the site a unique character and develops a controlled coming together of past and present styles.

In view of the storey height and massing of Old Mill and the neighbouring Waterside Court on the Hen Brook frontage, a 3½ storey marker building was provided accommodating A2/B1 uses at ground floor level with apartments above.  This important corner is visible from the southern approach to the site along St. Mary’s Street and the storey height carefully responds to the existing chimney to preserve this local landmark.

The general aim of the use of materials is to create a link with the local context, but at the same time generate a development with its own character.  Surface materials and detailed design of the courtyard will provide pedestrian priority so the courtyard acts as a focal space within the development rather than as a car park.  A feature tree is proposed within the courtyard to soften the space and provide some screening between dwellings whilst still maintaining daylight to residences and a view from within the courtyard to St. Mary’s Church.