Managing Growth

Managing Growth

English Heritage launches Industrial 'Heritage at Risk' research

English Heritage (EH) has launched the start of its annual Heritage at Risk research, which this year will focus on industrial heritage at risk such as textile mills, coal mines, canals, railways, warehouses, brick works, potteries, breweries, gas works, wind and watermills, ports, docks and harbours.

EH will look at how much of the country's industrial heritage is at risk of neglect, decay or demolition in order to raise the debate about what needs saving and how. It will reveal the results of its Industrial Heritage at Risk research, including what the public think about our industrial past, in October this year at the launch of the annual Heritage at Risk register.

You can get involved now by posting items of industrial heritage you believe are at risk, including ports, docks and harbours.

Photographs and comments are welcome on the Flickr Group established by EH, the Council for British Archaeology and the Association for Industrial Archaeology
Find out more about Industrial Heritage at Risk

Living Buildings Architectural Conservation: Philosophy, Principles and Practice

Submitted by admin on Fri, 21/01/2011 - 11:24
Date published
Sat, 01/11/2008 - 00:00
TitleLiving Buildings
Architectural Conservation: Philisophy, Principles and Practice
AuthorDonald Insall
PublisherImages Publishing Group
Price£39.50 + p&p
Special HTF Members offer £27.50 + p&p (Members' Special offer code)
To orderTel: 01394 389977 Antique Collectors Club
Written to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Donald Insall’s multi-award winning architectural practice, this copiously and beautifully illustrated book begins with the assertion that ‘buildings are alive’. The buildings and their materials ‘speak eloquently of their local origin’, writes the author.
His philosophy is combined with practical guidance and in-depth analysis of architectural conservation. From day-to-day maintenance to drastic renovation projects, the book offers advice drawn from case studies of some of the country’s best loved buildings.
At the same time an elegant coffee table book and a practical manual for anyone with an interest in architecture and conservation, this book would make an excellent gift or addition to a collection.

Practical Guide to National Infrastructure Projects

Submitted by admin on Fri, 21/01/2011 - 11:19
Date published
Wed, 01/07/2009 - 00:00
TitlePractical Guide to National Infrastructure Projects
AuthorBircham Dyson Bell
Product CodePLNIR
Price£130.00 + p&p
Special HTF Members offer £104.00 (20% discount) + p&p (Members' Special offer code)
To orderTo receive the 20% discount please phone LexisNexis customer services on +44 (0) 845 370 123444 quoting the Members' Special offer code

Non-members can order online


Making Better Applications

Submitted by admin on Fri, 21/01/2011 - 10:27
Date published
Wed, 01/10/2003 - 00:00

Making Better Planning Applications

Report 54

This guide will help everyone who is involved in making planning applications. The guidance will be particularly relevant to applications within historic towns, conservation areas, or sites close to listed buildings, however it can be applied anywhere.
Download (1.10MB)


Icon, Street, Somerset

Planning and Process

The Icon residential quarter is built on the 4.9ha site of the original Clarks shoe factory in Street, a Victorian industrial market town of 11,100 residents. While shoes are no longer made in Street, the project started with the Clarks family’s vision for a new development of outstanding quality mixed tenure homes built to a high environmental standard as a lasting legacy for the town.  Icon is in the suburban area of Street, 100m from the High Street.

Icon, which includes Lime Tree Square, is part of the first phase of a 400-home scheme and includes 138 properties at the southern end of the site close to the town centre.  It comprises apartment blocks and mews and terraced housing. 

Icon, Street, Somerset
 Icon, Street, Somerset
© Insidehousing

Outline permission was granted for a housing scheme in 2004 as part of a land swap deal. This enabled an earlier Local Plan housing allocation to be re-sited closer to the High Street, while allowing Clarks to build a distribution centre nearby, thus safeguarding the company’s presence in Street.


The development reflects close working between land owners C & J Clark International, architects Feilden Clegg Bradley, landscape architects Grant Associates, Kingstone Housing Association, Mendip District Council and Somerset County Council

Climate Change

The development achieves an Eco Homes 2006 excellent rating and conforms to the water and energy standards of the code for sustainable homes.

Community Benefits and Community Engagement

Icon delivers innovative housing around Lime Tree Square, which provides a physical and social centre for the community.

There was extensive community consultation, including a stakeholder group, ‘planning for real’ workshops and visits to housing developments demonstrating best practice in sustainability. 


The Clarks vision established the development principles, with a commitment to quality and public involvement.  The brief, adopted by the Council in 2005, included among other things:

  • a coherent network of footpaths and cycleways linking the site to existing routes, local facilities and public transport nodes;
  • extending existing development along the West End frontage while encouraging views into the site; and
  • Integrating new housing with existing local housing, and making provision for rear vehicular access to existing properties. 

By taking an innovative approach to highways design, Icon redefines the idea of the square and the street as shared spaces for pedestrians and vehicles, to create a series of traffic calmed social spaces. It develops routes to other parts of the town to create new desire lines and links.  The development is open, accessible, easy to move through and displays a carefully balanced arrangement of buildings, spaces, and links.  There is a hierarchy of private, semi-private and public spaces.

Learning from the past and Present

Clarks, like many other industrialists of their time, built terraces of model homes for their workers and provided community facilities and this scheme follow in that spirit.  The houses lend the scheme a strong sense of identity thanks to contemporary and robust design that references the materials and colour palette of the local area.  The design includes retention of an old stone barn on West End

Links for further information

Brian Human
Vice Chair HTF
August 2010

Waterfront Housing in Amsterdam, Eastern Harbour


The Eastern Harbour includes three narrow island wharves: KSNM Island, once the home of the Royal Dutch Steamship Company; Java Island, a former industrial area; Borneo, the third island, a former railway shunting area.  They have been redeveloped to provide some of the most interesting waterfront housing in Europe.

Planning and Process

Each of these islands is planned as a neighbourhood area with an urban design strategy, organised to provide a sense of local identity. Density is 100 dwellings/hectare.

KSNM Island accommodates some 1250 dwellings - the plan is a result of collaboration between Amsterdam City Council planners and Jo Coenen.  Java Island is now a mixed-use neighbourhood of some 1350 dwellings with 500m2 of commercial space.  Borneo is a low-rise, high-density neighbourhood of some 2150 dwellings.

 Amsterdam East Harbour
Amsterdam East Harbour
 Amsterdam East HarbourImages
© Urbed 

The importance of the masterplan to shape development has been of vital importance.  Integrated teams of landscape designers, architects, planners and engineers established the development ethos. That spirit is exemplified in the form of urban housing in which the Dutch excel. The concern for privacy so prevalent in Britain is transformed into a positive approach to neighbourliness, safety, communality and self-responsibility.  Instead of traffic orientated development there is a pedestrian friendly environment.


The close working partnership between public authorities and the private sector has enabled some 8000 houses and apartments to be built in the last ten years. The public sector, often the landowner, is able to set out the design and financial terms for development – allowing the private sector to bring finance and development expertise to the table.  On Java the partnership between city planners and the private sector consultants – in this case West 8 and Rudy Uytenhaak - has shown that a shared vision can create a high quality environment.

Partnership has been between the role of the local authority as land assembler, and that of the private sector as developer. An ‘open-book’ system operates that allows the City Council to monitor the financial performance of development as it is designed and developed.  There is an important lesson to be leaned in the idea of opening up the market to individuals rather than just developers.  


On KSNM Island development takes the form of apartment blocks along the quayside with traffic running through central parkland in the middle of the island between the housing.  On Java Island the design approach has been different from KSM. Apartment blocks up to nine storeys form a wall around the island. Traffic has been kept to the quayside to provide central pedestrian friendly courtyards.

On Borneo in only designated locations have blocks of flats been built, to provide focal points. Elsewhere design guidance has limited the development to three storeys – houses, flats or maisonettes. Each unit has its own front door onto the street and its own garden of patio. Parking is both on-street and in sub basements. This creates interesting opportunities for courtyard patios on the roofs of the parking garages. Different architects, including Erick van Egeraat and Steven Holl, developed different blocks, though there is a consistency of materials and designs that is the result of careful urban design guidance.

Part of Borneo Island was the subject of a competition for development for private individuals. Plots were a standard 16 metres deep and between 4.2 – 6 metres wide. Urban design guidelines challenged the individuality of plot owners and their designers, and a creative enthusiasm emerged that has given the area an important status in the history of self-build or self-managed housing. The height of dwellings was limited to 9.5 metres. The ground floor height was consistently at 3.5 metres. Houses had to be built directly onto the dock edge.

Urban Design Guidelines have provided strong guidance on materials, height, massing and landmarks.  They are sometimes prescriptive, but flexible enough to create a canvas for imaginative and innovative responses to a very simple and well understood urban form – the terraced house.


Jon Rowland/URBED/Brian Human (Vice Chair HTF)
1st June 2010

Freiburg (Rieselfeld and Vauban), Germany


Located in the south western corner of Germany Freiburg is a university town in an area that has benefited from high tech industry. The town’s population is 135,000, with a further 60,000 living in the suburbs and outlying hamlets.  After the war, the city had to start by restoring its ancient fabric. It early on realised the impossibility of accommodating the car, and so invested heavily in cycling and a high quality public transport system.

Planning and Process

A side effect of the pattern of regeneration and development has been that the population in the centre is now largely made up of singles, and those with families can no longer afford to live there. To cope with the pressures the municipality has planned and developed two new settlements on land it has acquired. One, called Vauban, is a former barracks, and includes a high proportion of self-build conversions of the old barracks buildings. The other, Rieselfeld, has been built on fields opened up by an extension of the tram system.


The city put in the infrastructure and then let sites to private builders, housing associations and self-build groups.

Climate Change

There are a number of innovative principles, including minimising energy consumption and water run-off, and with a mix of uses the whole development is intended to be environmentally friendly. There are a number of shops around the tram stops. Car parking outside the residential blocks is kept to a minimum. Some blocks have parking under them and there are large multi storey car parks at the edges. Cycling is encouraged.

Freiburg QC Study tour
images © Urbed


The whole environment is extremely child friendly, making it popular among those with young families.  There are no signs of graffiti, and the development seems extremely popular, the high densities helping to generate street life and a sense of community at a neighbourhood level.

The pattern of splitting blocks into maisonettes with separate entrances and large balconies overcomes many of the disadvantages of flat living. But it is probably the appeal of children growing up with ideal play conditions that attracts so many young parents to these new developments.


Most of the housing is in five to six storey blocks made up of two storey maisonettes. There is a high stress on balconies and communal courtyards. However, the most impressive feature is probably the ecological landscaping around the water courses, which has been replicated in the abundant planting around many of the blocks.

The apartments have been made attractive through a number of features.

Learning from the Past and Present

In Vauban, inspired perhaps by the conversions of the old barracks, the residents have very much made their mark, and take great pride in the semi-communal gardens.

  • They are set in a natural landscape, which creates the sense of living in the country. Access to allotments is easy, and the small huts create a kind of ‘place in the country’.
  • While the blocks tend to be similar in height and footprint, each looks individual because of the rich variety of materials and colours used. In Vauban, the policy of keeping cars in peripheral car parks also helps to make the development quieter and safer - the use of crossroads without priority helps to keep traffic speeds down without any need of humps.
  • Each block is different and this is encouraged by the high proportion developed by co-ops, in which the occupiers invest ‘sweat equity’.

Freiburg has promoted planned extensions to cope with demands for more housing. The two settlement extensions of Rieselfeld and Vauban are different from most development attempted in Britain, and it is easy to dismiss them as interesting, but hardly relevant. Yet they tackle some basic issues that apply equally to British cities, including how to attract families to live at higher densities close enough to city centres to avoid depending on the private car.


URBED/Brian Human (Vice Chair HTF)
1stJune 2010