Community Building, Hendon

The owner of a forgotten piece of land in Hendon approached spb to develop a strategy to raise the profile of the site and help to achieve a sale. The site had been left unused since the 1980s as it lies on the banks of a significant river which has been designated a flood plain by the Environment Agency (EA) and classified as a High Risk (Zone 3) flood area.

At spb we specialise in difficult urban sites, and part of the process is trying to establish what and where the opportunities are for development. A series of planning applications had been made over the years by others, but none had been passed the EA. After detailed analysis, it became clear that there was a small portion of the site, closest to the road, that was not designated in the flood plain. Although classified of medium-level flood risk it opened the door for discussion. spb successfully negotiated with both the EA and Local Authority that a building of community use would be suitable and developed a proposal appropriate for the brief.

The final proposal comprised a large communal hall, working and meeting spaces, and a cafe area. All set perched over the river and benefiting from significant landscaping to enhance the riverscape and local ecology.

For the first time in over 30 years, the land was deemed useable and the owner successfully sold the site which is now earmarked for development.