After four years of intensive community engagement, the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum’s (MPNF) Community Right to Build Order – Britain’s largest ever – was been submitted and on 26 January 2017 finished its public consultation. The planning documents are available on Camden’s website, here.
The MPNF is a community group made up of people who live and work around the proposed development at the Royal Mail Group’s (RMG) Mount Pleasant sorting office in Clerkenwell, London. Working with Create Streets and an expert team of architects, planning consultants and surveyors, the community has over the last few years developed a master plan for the whole of the Mount Pleasant sorting office site based on local knowledge and addressing the community’s needs. These proposals were developed in response to a planning application by RMG’which was opposed by the community and both local councils (Islington and Camden) but controversially approved by then Mayor Boris Johnson following a call-in.
The community-led proposal has consistently received between 95-99% local support and received widespread backing within the built environment professions. The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has said; “This is a great example of how big developments should work – working with local communities to design real neighbourhoods that work for the existing community.”
The current Community Right to Build Order covers only part of the overall Mount Pleasant site. The next stage is to work up more detailed plans for the rest of the site.
The competition therefore sought for architects to submit designs for some of the blocks facing onto Gough Street in the next phase of our master plan with the intention that these designs would form part of the scheme that the community brings forward for the rest of the site.
The Deadline was 6pm on Friday May 26th
The work has been made possible through the professional expertise and assistance of Calfordseaden, Francis Terry & Associates, Urban Engineering Studio, Maddox Associates and Alexandra Steed Urban. Based on community meetings and workshops, the major reasons behind the popularity of the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum’s proposals include:
A stronger sense of place than the RMG proposals;
A liking for the open spaces and permeable plan, which contrasts with the ‘fortress-like’ RMG scheme;
A preference for the more conventional design approach
A preference for the sympathetic architectural form
Edward Dension of the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum commented:
‘The Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum has always championed the widest possible public and professional engagement in the future of this important site. We are therefore delighted to now be in a position to concentrate on the second phase of our scheme and welcome submissions from across the architectural profession that imaginatively interpret the site’s context, creatively challenge the master planning principles, and value the importance of community engagement.’
looking North (left)
and south (right)
On Gough Street the proposals fit in with the local London character, including those of the Conservation Areas: New buildings on the east, though high in the middle of the street, will feel narrower and more eccentric and typically London than the massive blocks on the west.
Heritage and history have formed an important part of the community’s designs, and the inclusion of mews reflects the local area’s architectural and industrial heritage: the off-road pedestrian route that runs through the centre of the block, parallel to Phoenix Place and Gough Street, is imagined as having the finer grain of a London mews, rather than a civic axis.
“A great example of how big developments should work – working with local communities to design real neighbourhoods that work for the existing community”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan
What were we looking for?
We were looking for designs that fit into our parameters outlined below.
Proposals were encouraged to be sensitive to the surrounding area and streetscape, as well as the designs for the community’s current Community Right to Build Order, detailed below.
The community’s approach to this development has always been to promote debate, openness and collaboration. In the same spirit, this open competition was designed to encourage deeper engagement, cooperation and collaboration among built environment professionals to help the community create a new and truly inspirational piece of London that serves the needs of all Londoners.
We were seeking proposals for the buildings on Gough Street.
Included in the information pack were dwg and pdf files of guideline floor plans and elevations with axonometric views. You can download this here
The Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum has announced the results of their competition for designs for the second phase of their plan to turn their alternative masterplan for the Mount Pleasant site into a reality. A fascinating variety of entries was received, in line with the community’s broader objectives around Mount Pleasant: to promote debate, openness, and collaboration with the aim of achieving the highest possible standards in the design of buildings and open spaces around the sorting office site and throughout the Neighbourhood Area.
The Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum was pleased to welcome submissions from across the architectural profession, including young professionals and seasoned experts. As requested, entrants imaginatively interpreted the site’s context, and creatively challenged the master planning principles. Entrants explored a range of styles and strategies, and there was a healthy dose of both eccentric and typically London designs, as encouraged by the brief.
In light of the diversity of approaches, rather than selecting just one overall winner, the Mount Pleasant Association have instead decided to award commendations to three entrants, Clarke Renner, Solid Space Architecture and Atomik Architecture
Edward Denison from the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum commented that ‘The Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum has always championed the widest possible public and professional engagement in the future of this important site. This competition is further evidence of the importance of this kind of approach. We were delighted and extremely grateful to see such a range of entries and in particular the innovative engagement by young professionals, all of which is further proof that there should have been a much wider and deeper engagement of local and professional communities by the Royal Mail Group to obtain the best possible outcome for this site and for London - for the many and not the few.'
Nicholas Boys Smith, Director of Create Streets commented: ‘We are delighted to be able to again work with the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum to organise this competition. The range of possibilities demonstrated by these entries show the enormous benefit that the community’s alternative master plan could bring to the area. The competition demonstrates that achieving the alternative master plan is a realistic and feasible proposition, and once again shows the value of communities and professionals working together.
The Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum and Create Streets have been in touch with the winning architects. They are in the process of setting up meetings with each, to award their prizes and to discuss how they might work together as the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum moves forward with their plans for the site. The Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum would like to sincerely thank all entrants for their contributions to the competition.
You can find full information about the competition, including the judge's comments on each entry here.
Details of the original competition are below
Atomik Architecture's entry.
Clarke Renner's entry.
Solid Space's entry.
Original Competition Information