Green Light for Gorse Ride

Unanimous approval for 249 low-energy homes

16 December 2020

Our plans for 249 low-energy homes at Gorse Ride in Wokingham received unanimous approval at last week’s planning committee. The proposals, which include a new landscape and public realm strategy that reconnects the estate to its surroundings, are set to transform the local area and reinvigorate the local community. Plans include the replacement of 178 dwellings that have fallen into disrepair and cannot be suitably retrofitted.

Working in close collaboration with Wokingham Borough Council, residents and the local community, the masterplan celebrates diversity and creates an exemplar proposal for affordable and social tenure-led development. The phased regeneration will take place over a number of years, transforming the estate into a place local people can be proud of.

The design is focused around a large village green that acts as the ‘heart’ of the new community. Green corridors and pocket parks provide open and safe spaces where the community can come together. All homes – whether social rent, shared ownership or market sale – are designed as tenure blind and with a fabric first approach. One and two-storey houses are located around the site’s perimeter, with three and four-storey apartment buildings positioned at the centre to provide passive surveillance.

Material selection is a response to the local context. The widespread use of red brickwork is for robustness but also a reference to the area’s industrial past while the reinterpretation of chimneys as ventilation stacks (serving the MVHR units) offer an additional sense of domesticity. All homes feature high levels of airtightness and thermal performance to reduce operational energy and improve indoor air quality and comfort.

Oliver Wood, Project Director at Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt said: “We’ve been working closely with the council and local residents to understand their needs and aspirations. Their input and insights have been invaluable to our approach and the preparation of proposals which are high-quality and sustainable. The idea of ‘Dwellings within a Wooded Garden’ became an inspiring vision of what affordable-led regeneration projects can look like within Wokingham and further afield.”

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