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Download: 140522 EDC 60 Cammo Appraisal Report
Project data
Project Reference Cammo
Details Masterplan and design code for new housing at Cammo
Location City of Edinburgh
Use Type Public Realm / Infrastructure / Housing
Client/Developer Cramond and Harthill Estate
Lead Designers Halliday Fraser Munro
Planning Authority Edinburgh City Council
Planning Ref Pre-PPP Application; PAN notice dated 30th September 2013 (13/03999/PAN).
Issue Date 22/05/2014

1.00 Status of Appraisal

1.01 This report forms a Project Appraisal by the A&DS Design Forum panel. The report reflects both the outcomes of the final workshop on 28th April and the subsequent appraisal by panellists. Equally it encompasses key issues raised and discussed during the series of earlier workshops. [The earlier Design Forum advice notes remain relevant as background to and substantiation of the position expressed in this appraisal]

1.02 Section 3 below sets out A&DS’s appraisal at the conclusion of the Design Forum process for Cammo. The appraisal incorporates an overall rating of the quality of the design documentation and proposals presented. This is followed by detailed advisory notes in section 4 that are linked to the section 3 appraisal.

1.03 Sections 3 and 4 are both structured around the topic headings arising from the points raised at earlier workshops [Interim workshop note 2 dated 14th February]. A supplementary topic has been added to address the SUDS issues discussed at the concluding workshop. This structure is intended to facilitate the use of this appraisal by City of Edinburgh Council when reviewing the intended planning application.

1.04 This report draws on information presented by the Project team and matters raised by the council at the Design Forum workshop.

1.05 The involvement of A&DS at this stage is at the request of the council based on their current intentions [i.e. the council has provisionally accepted the principle, scale and type of development on this site through allocation in the proposed LDP, albeit that the LDP has yet to progress to adoption stage]. In this context the comments in this appraisal should not be held as either promoting or questioning the principle, scale or type of development on the site.

2.00 Background

2.01 The site has been allocated for housing within the Proposed Local Development Plan, site HSG 20, with capacity identified in the region of 500 -700 houses.

2.02 Halliday Fraser Munro, and a multi-disciplinary project team, have been instructed to take forward earlier LDP submissions and prepare an application for Planning Permission in Principle for development of the site by landowner Cramond and Harthill Estate. A PAN notice has been served and the processes of community consultation, EIA and design development are advanced. A planning submission was intended to follow in the week after the workshop, albeit that additional material may be submitted by the applicant post-submission in order to address points raised in this A&DS appraisal.

2.03 One of three important sites around Edinburgh, HSG 20 was nominated as a Locally Significant project by City of Edinburgh Council in order to receive the support of A&DS through Design Forum workshops. The council has high aspirations for the quality of development of the site, with particular priority given the greenbelt release.

2.04 The strategic housing land requirement has been adjusted leading to increased densities on the site. Unit numbers have been raised from 400 to 500-700, with an anticipated density range on the site from 25 to 35 dwellings/Ha across different parts of the site. There were several hundred objections to the LDP and whilst the council do not intend to de-allocate the site, consultations with the community in respect of proposed development are sensitive.

3.00 Appraisal Outcomes

3.01 Appraisal Summary

The panel welcome the establishment of a strong framework of masterplan and design code to guide development of this prominent gateway site for Edinburgh. It is encouraging that this has been influenced by an analysis of landscape and place, creating a three-dimensional framework for further place -led design. It is also encouraging that the qualities set out in the masterplan and design code have provided assurance for the community consultees. We would recommend developing these documents in conjunction with the council towards some form of adoption in order that this framework secures the site-specific qualities intended.The panel have concluded that the project is well considered and supported[category 2].

However this support assumes the issues discussed at the workshop will be addressed. These issues are set out in this report, with a focus on missing detail and particular areas of the masterplan that need further work. We also recommend that the project team work closely together: to more fully embed the integration of landscape design with architecture; to embed the movement network proposals; and to resolve the detailed points discussed.

3.02 Landscape Framework, Implementation and Vision

The landscape design proposals are supported in principle however the panel considered that the design intent for the landscape elements needs (1) to be more demonstrably integrated with the masterplan and built form proposals and (2) this needs to be more robustly set out through inclusion of these elements in the code [see 4.02 below]. This was considered preferable to relying on a stand-alone landscape framework document.

3.03 Wider Pedestrian Framework

It is recommended that planned alterations and extensions to the wider foot and cycle path network are set out as well as alterations to the embankment at East Craigs to establish the way in which the wider intended integration of the site will work in the long term.

3.04 Maybury Road and the Bus Loop

It is recommended that the WSP planned movement network proposals both within and without the site are fully co-ordinated with the masterplan and code.

3.05 Maybury Road Urban Form

Views, vistas and links across the site from East Craig to Cammo Park are now more clearly established and integral to the proposals. The form of the freestanding apartment buildings help open up these views. However the detailed masterplanning around the apartment buildings has yet to be fully resolved [see 3.07].

3.06 Handling Wider Views

The proposed long sections, read with the coding plan/s, should more clearly show the design intent for the planned views.

3.07 Detailed Layout and Built Form Points

There are a number of points about the detailed design resolution that were discussed in the workshop and that we would recommend should be resolved at the stage. These include:

  • street level amenity, parking and gardens of the apartment buildings
  • feasibility testing of the proposed NE hub buildings and spaces
  • better definition of west edge plot boundaries
  • strengthening the built form/pedestrian proximity at the southwest; footpath gateway

3.08 Typologies

Further to the points above [3.07] we would recommend:

  • reinforcing street character through further planned variations in building formats for each street type
  • more subtle graduations of density

3.09 Design Code

The coding requires to be tightened up in respect of the landscape framework and to provide design guidance for the intended character in each area.

The link between phased delivery of infrastructure and development phases needs to be set out as previously advised in order to ensure that the cost of implementation are shared and not deferred and to secure early establishment of the landscape and movement framework.

The code should include 3D visualisations to illustrate design intent; for example 3D views along Maybury Road showing how street crossings, the transformed road character, the proposed buildings and trees are intended to look in context.

Other elements that might beneficially be included in the detailed coding include, to summarise points noted elsewhere:

  • landscape element coding
  • colonies housing
  • west edge plot boundaries
  • the community hub buildings
  • movement framework coding
  • external paths and embankments
  • phasing

3.10 SUDS

The implications of the flooding and drainage study need to be fully embedded in the masterplan layout and street design to ensure, so far as possible, the deliverability of the proposals by third party developers.

4.00 Advisory Notes

The notes below indicate progress relative to key advice from the earlier workshop on 31st January 2014 [advice shown in italics] together with further advice and guidance provided by the Design Forum Panel at the last workshop.

4.01 Not used

4.02 Landscape Framework, Implementation and Vision

Earlier advice that remains relevant: “If converted into a strong and detailed landscape framework, including proposals for partial implementation prior to development, this has the potential not only to set a precedent for the city but also to make the site more attractive and marketable.”

Further advice: The existence of a strong landscape framework was welcomed albeit that this was not fully presented at the workshop. The layout has clearly been influenced by a response to the local landscape and integration with neighbouring areas.

We recommended translating this into coding for landscape element, including a scaled landscape framework plan and the dimensioned setting out of:

  • protected parkland and view corridors
  • extent of perimeter soft landscape
  • extent of 2 types of SUDS treatment and burn preservation/restoration
  • intent to form new path, gap in existing trees and existing embankment to east of Maybury Road. This needs to be further developed and discussed in conjunction with the council, including addressing issues of ownership/control.

There should be some intent set down as to how the landscape should change and mature in time – included in addition to the landscape framework plan.

4.03 Wider Pedestrian Framework

Earlier A&DS advice:“The wider future context of the council’s Action Programme; including planned pedestrian routes both on and off site, linkages to existing and planned schools, and relative to the planned location of CPO land needs to be more clearly understood by all parties, e.g. drawn, integrated and agreed with the various council departments involved.”

Further advice: The code should show the location and type of all key elements of the movement network intended within the surrounding area, including routes outside the red line site boundary. This should include existing and planned footpaths, cycle paths, bus stops that are critical to achieving integration with existing networks and access to existing and planned local services including the projected school at Maybury. This would beneficially show the line and type of key routes and links to existing and planned wider footpath network, including planned locations of CPO
land advised by the council.

4.04 Maybury Road and the Bus Loop

Earlier A&DS advice: “the A&DS panel suggested that there was an opportunity to achieve both a bus route running along Maybury Road and public transport accessibility for the majority of the site using a shorter turning loop for buses that passes only through the NE corner of the site. The Project Team proposed to meet the bus operator, with the council, to discuss this.”
“The panel also encouraged exploration of this opportunity as part of the intensification of public uses and a more urban character at the proposed NE hub at the gateway area nearest the Maybury Road/A90 junction.”

Further advice: These points have been largely tackled. The WSP road and movement network proposals can now be integrated as part of the masterplan and design code. This should include alterations to Maybury Road as agreed with the council. We would recommend recording the intended crossings, and the wider public realm alterations needed to achieve a transformation from transport corridor to residential street.

4.05 Maybury Road Urban Form

Earlier A&DS advice: “The vistas achieved between building blocks along Maybury Road were questioned as shown given the road speeds of viewers by car, narrow gaps between blocks, and the shift in street geometries shown. Review of the effectiveness of proposed vistas to Cammo Tower and Mausley Hill would establish how such vistas can be achieved.”
“The council had planned four crossing points and asked whether the teams designed routes and bus stops coincided with the existing routes. The desire was expressed for stops to serve communities on both sides of Maybury Road. The panel advocated a fully integral approach, with a focus at the NE hub, whereby bus stops and projected local facilities such as shops, GP and dental practice would coincide.”

Further advice: The panel considered that the rhythm of blocks, views and vistas is working more effectively now and the crossings planned are better integrated. However the NE hub proposals need further development in terms of deliverability – see 4.07 below.

4.06 Handling Wider Views

Earlier A&DS advice: “The maintaining of planned views was discussed, including distant views to the Pentlands that are proposed across the foreground of new housing. The feasibility of this proposal would benefit by testing using long sectional scale drawings and visual studies of specific views.”

The sections might be adjusted to more clearly demonstrate the design intent for views along particular streets and through parkland, showing what can and should be visible such as views to Cammo tower and towards the Pentland, where this is visible without obstruction by buildings. See also point about recording view corridors in plan at 4.02 above.

4.07 Detailed Layout and Built Form Points

Earlier A&DS advice: “The panel considered that:

  • There appears to be a disconnection between the landscape and built form proposals. Whilst the variety of housing typologies was welcomed, carefully matching of typologies is needed to support the open spaces, routes and planting proposed, considering the intended daily life and activities of residents.
  • Some block sizes appear too small, especially along the north edge, and the panel queried both the viability of the block size shown and the resultant road to residential ratio.
  • The hierarchy of routes could be more strongly and simply linked to the intended landscape structure. Whilst the proposed east-west Mausley Hill park corridor has great potential it was suggested that this could be strengthened by becoming more active and integral with daily life, e.g. by incorporating a shared-space pedestrian/vehicle route.
  • A stronger and more welcoming built gateway to the south-west pedestrian access would improve the attractiveness of the linkage to the wider planned pedestrian network.”

Further advice: These points have been largely addressed and the closer matching between housing layout, shared space street design and public realm design is very welcome. Further work is required in some specific areas to resolve detailed elements of the masterplan.

• apartment buildings
Whilst the rhythm of the proposed apartment blocks was considered more successful in terms of the ‘scale and regularity of form’ these blocks have yet to be convincingly resolved in detail in two respects (1) the detailed layout as shown in the design code has double- fronted blocks which risk poor amenity at ground level (2) the amount of garden space shown on the masterplan is insufficient in some instances.

• NE hub
The mixed-use/community use buildings at the northeast hub needs to be developed into formats that provide usable spaces and economically viable uses and management. Adaptable units were discussed as one possibility, incorporating health clinic/vet/ retail or flexible use spaces at street level and apartments above. A nursery/crèche/meeting room or similar community use space was also discussed as a possibility, where new demand would link to planned development.

• West edge plot boundaries
Alongside the western landscape corridor the handling of the abutment to plot boundaries/private gardens needs further attention to provide a strong boundary where development is to be rounded off. This should benefit the amenity of residents and provide supervision for users of the adjoining parkland, open space and footpaths.

• Strengthening the southwest footpath gateway
The panel considered that the design of the SW gateway could be strengthened if a colonies frontage were brought closer to the southwest footpath link and bridge to activate this entrance to the site from the future school at Maybury.

4.08 Typologies

Earlier A&DS advice: “It is very positive and encouraging to see a range of differing density typologies being developed. Panel comments include:

  • Flats – Maybury Road blocks need particular attention in relation to the scale and regularity of form [despite the varying frontage conditions], and also rear parking and front/back conflicts.
  • Colonies housing – check orientation is working in all cases.
  • Terraces – check that entrance frontages correlate with parking location.
  • Semi-detached and detached – how to develop layout to support the function of the public realm – groupings, frontage lines, street enclosure etc.
  • Typologies shown need to be developed generally to reflect the variety of site contexts and to develop handling of: parkland edges, issues of parking, fronts/backs, frontages to public realm, pedestrian priority streets, etc.”

Further advice: These points have been addressed to a large extent and variations in house typologies are beginning to develop good links to variations in street and open space character. However further work is required in some specific areas to reinforce the street characters emerging and to include finer gradations of density. The different characters of the different types of street, lane and close need to be developed on the masterplan and the means of handling this variation made clearer on the coded block plans which show two largely similar arrangements at present.We recommended that density variations should be more gradually graded from area to area to reinforce the differing characteristics of each street and for example to avoid abrupt transitions such as from apartments to detached houses.

The points at 4.07 above are also relevant to typology design.

4.09 Design Code

Earlier A&DS advice: “The panel supports the teams continuing intentions to secure aspirations for the urban design via a design code and including a form of pattern book for the architecture. The panel recommended that the code should incorporate the landscape framework proposals as mandatory elements. Other mandatory elements should include, for example: building scale, street widths, frontage lines, and the design of critical buildings. It was also recommended that flexibility should allow for alternatives within a framework and scope for developing suitable architectural detail. The coding must also address phasing: the delivery of landscape elements andcommunity facilities divided in a viable and sensible way amongst housing phases.The panel supported the council’s intention to embed the code as a conditional element of any planning consent such that they have the capacity to control implementation by 3rd party developers.”

Further advice:It is important that the code is robust enough and detailed enough in the right places to be effective. Further detail is needed within the code to demonstrate the intended character, qualities and materials of the proposed architecture, streetscape and built form.

The intended forward planting is encouraged to establish the structure of key landscape elements prior to development. Similarly the early establishment of key walking routes is encouraged to promote use by existing and early phase residents.

4.10 SUDS

The constraints and implications arising from the WSP flooding study must be fully integrated and space allowed within the street design, built form and landscape proposals to ensure that the design intent is deliverable. This needs to be incorporated in a maintenance strategy in different areas of control whether part of the infrastructure landscape to be maintained by a residential factor [1 in 200 year flood risk] or part of the adoptable flood risk area to be maintained by Scottish Water [1 in 30 year flood risk]. The proposal to retain the historic water channel makes sense in the present context alongside a strategy to improve bio-diversity in the planned green corridor alongside the channel.

5.00 Next Stage

5.01 The issue of this report represents the completion of the Design Forum Workshop process for Cammo in the lead-up to the intended application for Planning Permission in Principle. The review by A&DS of any further submissions by the Project Team would need to be by special arrangement with A&DS and in association with an explanation as to how the various matters raised in this report have been addressed.

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