Blackhorse Mills is L&G’s flagship Build to Rent development that regenerates the former Ferry Lane Industrial Estate on the edge of Walthamstow’s reservoirs, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, into an environmentally-sensitive scheme of 479 homes designed specifically for rent.
The scheme responds to the design and geometries of the emerging Blackhorse Lane urban framework, set out by the London Borough of Waltham Forest. The design ties into the established green links and promotes health and wellbeing through an extensive public realm, a complementary mix of uses, and enhanced physical and visual permeability to the water.
Celebrating the reservoirs
The design celebrates and respects its location along the High Maynard Reservoirs. Extensive new landscaping includes 197 new trees, diverse planting and grasses, ‘play on the way’ features for children, and various character areas, such as the civic space and urban woodland, that each respond to their specific locality. The publicly-accessible ‘riverine walk’ along the waterfront creates an ecological corridor which provides a buffer between the natural environment and built form, protecting local wildlife and attracting new species, whilst connecting the site to the emerging developments in the Blackhorse Lane housing zone.
The buildings have also been designed to respond sensitively to the site’s natural microclimate challenges and promote the environmentally-focused ethos of the development with a zero-car policy, the provision of screening from activity on the terraces, and use of non-reflective materials and ‘reeded’ cladding incorporated into the façade.
Build to Rent
The five buildings range in height from eight to 16 storeys and are connected by an elevated terrace at podium with views across the water and an eclectic mix of amenities and activities for residents and the public. These spaces, catering for a variety of resident profiles and catalysing a sense of community that runs through the entire scheme, include a heated outdoor swimming pool, an extensive gym area, outdoor BBQ and dining areas, and doorstep play facilities for young children.
Blackhorse Mills includes a new community and commercial hub within which 20,000 sq ft of shops, offices and restaurants will serve and support the growing community and become a valued and integral part of the local area. Taking inspiration from the borough’s history, the strategy is to encourage the great culture of making and creating, harbouring local creative and independent commercial tenants to enliven the ground floor and waterside. This will include a microbrewery, local food store and spaces to support small and medium sized start-up businesses.
Our vision is to continue the civic space into the building in the form of a grand, publicly-accessible ‘Forum’. In a historical sense, a forum was a meeting place, market place, a place to exchange ideas and inform. We have used this same concept with the design of a flexible, robust space that will be programmed to include local exhibitions, performances and community events, and with an aspiration to involve and educate local school children and others on culture, ecology and sustainability. This space will form the heart of the development, significantly contributing to the transition from an industrial area to a mixed-use development and creating a destination within the new housing zone and wider community.
The scheme benefits from a DfMA design approach and demonstrates the synergies between key Build to Rent design principles and designing for offsite construction methods. The result is a highly rational design solution that not only brings efficiencies in construction, but in the long-term management and operation of this flagship Build to Rent development.
“Assael has consolidated our brief into a development which meets the demands of today’s ‘aspirationals’ - who are renting the whole building, the service and lifestyle, not just their apartment - and open up the Wetlands for the benefit of residents and the wider public.” Dan Batterton / Fund Manager BTR, Legal & General