Planning consent for micro homes in Aylesbury

FBM Architects has secured planning consent for a residential scheme for the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust. The exciting regeneration project in Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury will provide seven low-cost homes, while retaining parking and improving access to surrounding homes.

The Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust have a rolling programme of regenerating problematic garage-sites within their portfolio and were interested in the use of off-site construction to accelerate the programme and to reduce costs. They also have a shared interest with us in the environmental benefits of re-using / up-cycling existing structures. This naturally led to the design proposal that reuses second-hand shipping containers to transform an under-used garage site, which suffers from anti-social behaviour, into an attractive ‘home-zone’ development.

The scheme provides much-needed single person accommodation for social rent using converted shipping containers to create contemporary, environmentally-friendly homes in a desirable area near to local amenities and within walking distance of the town centre.

The proposals combine expertise in designing small flats and student accommodation to produce a compact layout that contains all the facilities of a one bed flat in a 26m2 space. Decking to front and rear allows residents to sit outside in private or public areas.

The containers, aligned on a north-south axis, are arranged as a staggered terrace to create more privacy and to avoid a major sewer that runs through the site. An ancillary unit containing a laundry room and secure bicycle parking is also provided for residents. Planning restrictions on this backhands site meant only single-storey designs would be acceptable. However, the ‘stackable’ nature of the shipping containers means multi-storey proposals will be viable on less constrained sites.

The colourful scheme compliments local modern architecture such as the nearby Serpentine project. Landscaping includes grassed areas, semi-mature trees and sedum roofs – these combine to provide sustainable urban drainage and to enhance local ecology. The use of linear block paving set-out in strong geometric shapes, plus coloured tarmac to the homezone road and parking bays lifts the development above standard black tarmac – giving the scheme a distinct identity.

High performance insulation to walls, roof and floor along with low-energy double glazing will mean tenants have very low heating bills and emissions will be minimised. It also demonstrates excellent value for money by the use of off-site construction methods as opposed to traditional build – while still providing safe, secure, energy-efficient homes.

Our design was developed in consultation with local stakeholders including residents, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service and Buckinghamshire County Council Highways. This project builds on our expertise in up-cycling existing materials and off-site MMC design – such as our pop-up container café for Kingston University and our student residential projects in Coventry.