Alex Coleman BA(Hons) DipArch (Kingston)
Roberto Scalzullo ARB RIBA

Four flats, Park Avenue, Mitcham


This 420 sq.m site at 111 Park Avenue, Mitcham was acquired by a young GP in 2002. Conceived originally as a means of accommodating his extended family, this scheme for a pair of semi-detached houses was granted planning permission by Merton Council in March 2007. Nevertheless, we have set out to create spaces which would be equally suited to young professionals with or without children as well as to the elderly and disable, although many aspects of the scheme will not reflect this until they are developed at a later stage in the design process.

Situated on a corner plot at the junction of Park Avenue and Hill Road in Mitcham, the approved scheme will be built on the site of an existing bungalow and will increase the density and quality of residential accommodation in the area. Accommodation is arranged over two floors and comprises entrance hall, living room, dining room and kitchen on the ground floor with master bedroom with en-suite and three further bedrooms and one bathroom on the upper floor. This is within the Borough’s target for new residential development of a minimum density of 150 habitable rooms per hectare. The houses within the area are mainly 2-storey 3-bedroom houses which display many of the same characteristics. We estimated that only 10-20% of houses in this residential area are bungalows and for this reason as well it was felt that the scheme for two 3-bedroom houses was appropriate and in keeping.

Semi-detached houses


Ground Floor Plan - Proposed Ground Floor Plan - Proposed
First Floor Plan - Proposed First Floor Plan - Proposed
Roof Plan - Proposed Roof Plan - Proposed
Elevations 1 - Proposed Elevations 1 - Proposed
Elevations 2 - Proposed Elevations 2 - Proposed
Planning Application Planning Application


Semi-detached houses

The scheme meets with Policy HP.1 in Merton’s UDP, in so far as it represents the increase of housing stock on previously developed but underused land. In particular it addresses section 3.45 – 3.46:

‘The Government has increased the requirement concerning the proportion of new homes built on previously developed land in order to promote the efficient use of land, regeneration in urban areas and to minimise development on greenfields sites. In London 80% of new housing is on recycled land.’

‘The Council has identified that most new housing in Merton has been secured from recycling urban land, including from windfall sites, vacant units over shops, disused offices and residential conversions. Given the finite availability of land, particularly regarding large scale sites and rising demand for additional houses in Merton, the option of recycling and re-using urban land will increasingly have to be encouraged to meet the Borough’s housing demand requirements. The Council wishes to encourage new housing on brownfield sites, but not at the expense of other important land uses such as open spaces, private amenity spaces, employment, or local biodiversity’.

Furthermore, we believe that under Policy HP.2: Retention of Residential Accommodation, the proposal would lead to a net increase in housing accommodation on the site.

Semi-detached houses
In accordance with Policy HS.1: Housing Layout and Amenity, we believe that the development receives adequate daylight and sunlight, while the daylight and sunlight available to adjoining properties is also adequately protected. The majority of the neighbouring property’s light is deemed to come from the front (diffuse northern light) and rear (direct sunlight from south and west depending on season and time of day). This means that the proposed scheme will not be obscuring it nor does it seriously restrict the outlook from adjoining properties. The windows in both flank walls are of a size, location and type to ensure that neighbouring properties are also protected from loss of privacy and from visual intrusion. The building lines of the flank walls have been maintained at 1m distances from the boundaries so as to allow easy front to rear access down both sides of the building and also to allow improved sight lines for traffic at the junction of Park Avenue and Hill Road.

The scale, size and proportions of the proposal take into account that of other similar properties in the area and are in keeping with the general trend of residential building. The style of the proposal has taken account of the styles of other similar properties in the area. Detailing is largely typical of other houses in the area with such features as the covered storm porch, double height bay window and rendered external walls.

The gardens are both well in access of the 50 sq.m minimum area requirements. In the future, there may even be sufficient space to the rear of the outer semi to allow the construction of a single garage or hard landscaping for off street parking with access from Park Avenue. While providing amenity space and gardens we have also ensured that inefficient use of land is avoided. While the scheme requires no trees to be removed and nothing more than the spread of one tree to be kept in check during the growing season, the scheme includes a landscaping proposal which is intended to be consistent with a policy of sustainability through planting.

While details of the design showing for example, compliance with Part M of the Building Regulations and DDA Regulations, will be worked out at a later stage, it is intended that the scheme will allow all potential users, no matter what their disability, age, race or sex, to be able to enter the site, move around the area and enter the building and use the facilities. The spaces are logical, simple and obvious to use. The development provides adequate access for the emergency services from all sides including the alleyway running alongside the rear of the site. There are sufficient escape routes provided and the pavements surrounding the site provide adequate areas for congregation and disabled refuge points in the event of an emergency.

In line with Schedule 6 in the UDP, regarding Residential Dwelling Houses (C3), the maximum parking standards for residential development is given as 2 spaces per dwelling for 3 & 4 bedroom units. In order to achieve high density residential development in and around town centres, the provision of car parking spaces needs to be at or below this maximum figure. Two off-street parking spaces have been provided per unit in the scheme.

Semi-detached houses
Semi-detached houses



In line with Policy HS.2: Sustainable Housing regarding the Borough’s policy to promote sustainable housing development within the Borough and in keeping with the Unitary Development Plan for The London Borough of Merton and PPG3 (March 2003) which promotes sustainable residential environments, we have attempted to address issues of sustainable design and incorporated these into the scheme wherever practicable. These are summarised below.

Solar and Photovoltaic cells

Solar Century have been approached to propose a scheme for a solar cell/ photovoltaic arrangement on the southern facing roof, from which 30% of the development’s energy will be derived. The solution is the result of a first collaboration with Solar Century with whom Alex Coleman Associates continues to maintain a highly successful working relationship.


A strategy for reclamation and re-cycling of materials from the demolition of the existing bungalow will propose that wherever possible the materials will be re-used either on the site or elsewhere. At the very least, damaged brick and block may be used as foundation hardcore where it is of the appropriate grade. In this regard, the re-use of materials will be cost effective and by minimising the numbers of vehicular journeys to and from the site, save on transportation costs and also reduce the harmful emissions being introduced into the atmosphere from such vehicles.

The scheme is currently being developed for a Building Regulations application before competitive Tender with a view to commencing on site in early 2008.

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Four flats - 111 Park Avenue - Mitcham CR4 2ES - new build - pre-fabricated timber frame - SIP - architectural design Mitcham - architectural design solar power - brownfield development - domestic new builds - planning applications Park Avenue - Mitcham