We were invited to respond to an initial public consultation on future proposals for the Edward Street Quarter by developers Patron Capital Partners and First Base.
There were no proposals at this stage – it appeared to be mainly an information gathering exercise.
Here is our response, which sets out out what we feel to be the most important considerations:
1. How to disguise the enormous mass of the Amex building to the North and to reduce its visual impact on the new buildings and spaces to the south.
There are a variety of ways this could be done, either by placing the taller elements (but much smaller scale than Amex) towards the north end of the site, or by introducing some covered open space (similar in principle to the Parisian Passages), linking spaces within the site to Mighell Street to the north, which would substantially conceal the Amex building from views within the site.
2. How best to take advantage of the steep East/West and North/South slopes, and use the buildings and landscaping to emphasise (not disguise), the natural contours of the land.
3. To use the contours to open up public spaces and new buildings to the south-western facing sunlight.
Sunlight studies should be carried out an early stage to ensure that the spaces between new buildings attract sunshine for the majority of the day, and to ensure that open spaces are not overshadowed by tall buildings.
4. To respect the scale and character of the Milner Flats to the West, and the houses along White Street to the East.
5. To create clear pedestrian routes and links to the St.James Street area to the south via Dorset Gardens Peace Park and the High Street.
6. To open up the Mighell Street farmhouse and garden to public access and view and incorporate it into the development in a meaningful way to the benefit of both.
7. There should be a mix of residential and smaller scale commercial uses to bring life and vibrancy to the area for the whole day. The proximity of the Amex building and other employment in the area would suggest that cafes, restaurants and shops related to landscaped, sunny public open space (or spaces), where people could sit outside and relax in their lunch breaks would seem to be both feasible and desirable.