Exploring the development potential of 38 garage sites across Waltham Forest

London Borough of Waltham Forest
Team Members:
Emer, Jas
Lewis Hubbard Engineering, Neighbourhood, PRD

We were appointed by Waltham Forest to produce a detailed study of 38 garage sites across the borough to identify those suitable for redevelopment. Our remit was to assess opportunities for new infill homes under its house building programme, either by Registered Providers or for sale on the open market.

Our methodology adopted a four step ‘sift’ to categorise sites and ensure those with limited or no development potential were quickly eliminated, allowing the multidisciplinary team to concentrate on those with greater development potential. Through a rigorous analysis of each site through visits, desktop studies and below grade investigations, we identified initial obstacles to re-development such as legal ownership, rights of way, overlooking, existing services and site access.

Our report made recommendations on risks, opportunities and constraints including planning policy, viability, deliverability, buildability, sustainability and site limitations. In each instance we considered the estate holistically, testing ideas beyond the red line boundary to maximise affordable housing potential whilst making improvements to the public realm for existing residents. For this commission, we brought together a team with wide ranging expertise on delivering complex infill projects, ensuring our recommendations took a pragmatic and holistic view on delivery.

The viability appraisal was well received by Waltham Forest Council and their in-house delivery team, Sixty Bricks, as a base point for future detailed feasibility studies. Our work was tailored to meet Waltham Forest’s deadline for disposing of the most critical sites to release much needed funding and reduce the drain on maintenance bills for site upkeep. The study enabled the potential of each site to be viewed strategically, not only based on capacity.  

Through this process, sites which did not meet the initial 10-unit quota ended up being considered for development. Many of these sites were quickly added to the open market. Subsequently Jas Bhalla Works have been invited to present the research to the Planning & Placemaking team and have been involved in round table discussion assisting Waltham Forest with their small sites SPD guide.

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