calfordseaden worked in partnership with Hill Residential, Hill Partnerships and Kent County Council to breathe new life into a former council owned school site.

We were able to balance the wishes of all interested parties and develop a high quality, viable design solution that contributes positively to the existing townscape through its innovative layout and use of traditional materials which respect the local vernacular.

The new development delivers a flexible and adaptable 1400m2 community hub to provide a vital focus for the local community. The contemporary hub provides space for a number of organisations including the Baptist Church, YMCA, a youth club, Citizens Advice Bureau, library, café, and an adult education centre. Part of the development alongside the community hub includes the build of 40 mixed tenure houses, of which 10 are for sale, 10 for shared ownership and 20 for affordable rent.

The site posed a variety of challenges, including numerous Tree Preservation Orders, flood risk from the nearby River Eden and the protection of great crested newts. We played an instrumental role in the consultation process, canvassing the opinions of the local community through events held in the existing community centre and the town council offices. We also carried out specific individual consultation with the organisations wishing to invest in the new community hub.

The use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) on this project allowed us to establish where and to what extent structural steelwork clashed with curtain walling around the main entrance, roof, windows and internal joinery of the community hub. Being able to detect problems at the design development stage saved the project team time and money.