Earlier this week some Knight’s Walk residents came along on a Study Trip to visit two recently completed developments in the Borough of Southwark.
These developments are not projects by any of the Development Management Team but Catherine, George and Nataly from the Resident Engagement Team for Knight's Walk, joined residents on this trip to get their feedback on what they did and did not like about the schemes.
In particular, we were looking at the spaces in-between the buildings; the public, private and communal gardens, entrances and walkways, historical features and the general feel of walking in and around the new homes. It was a lovely sunny day to visit the Aylesbury Estate and Trafalgar Place and hear what residents of Knight’s Walk had to say about them.
Our first stop on the trip was the Aylesbury estate and we spent a good while winding our way around the 6 new buildings and crossing through the private gardens and courtyards. The residents of Knight’s Walk had a lot to say about the Aylesbury development and the overall feel was that everyone really liked the design and thought it was a very quiet, green and spacious place to live.
- Balconies that are a nice size to sit in and grow plants with a secure edge and large windows.
- Secure and spacious bin and bike storage integrated into the design of the buildings
- Entrances with some private space in front with space for plants and storage
- Communal outdoor garden with seating and a play area, a space you can sit in even in the winter that feels more like a park and a space for the community to share
- The paving stones throughout were small, safe and less likely to crack. People liked the way the paving continued from outside through to the internal communal spaces. In some of the corridors where the paving continued to the front door, it felt like you were stepping straight outside from a private house
- Everyone liked the main entrance of Arments house with it’s unique semi-open continuation of green space bridging from outside to the inside atrium, this was a very light and cool space.
- Corridors and atriums between the flats feeling light, fresh, clean and secure with some plants to feel like an outdoor space but indoors. A nice space to meet neighbours
- Memory plaques on the benches in the communal garden talking about local shops and the history of the neighbourhood
- Communal balcony for residents on top of the main entrance, people liked that there were benches on a higher level, overlooking the green landscape and wildlife around the buildings.
- Some communal gardens in internal courtyards were too small and felt like flats were overlooking each other. People didn’t like how close the flats and balconies were to each other and that there was only one direction to look out on to.
- Private house entrances with tall brick walls that make you feel enclosed and shut in. This was a debate amongst residents, as some preferred high walls for privacy and others felt this was a barrier to the rest of the development.
- The solid rocks feature in the children’s play area were seen to be dangerous
- Many residents disliked one of the side entrances to the building, which was through a dark, narrow corridor and felt unsafe.
Our next stop was Trafalgar Place and from the first step onto the main walking route, it seemed that everyone really liked the feel of this neighbourhood. People said it felt much more open and the pedestrian path between the two buildings reminded residents of Knight’s Walk but with a greener, more spacious feel.
Key things people liked:
- Entrance area around the ground floor flats with plants. People really liked this as it felt private, not overlooked and had enough space from the neighbouring buildings to feel open.
- Lovely paving and the different types of brick in the buildings were really something special
- Green on every outdoor space even on the railings on the balconies and smaller entrances
- The main street entrance felt very secure despite being on a main road
- The outdoor lighting was really innovative, people liked that the lights were embedded in the ground paving so that the walkways were safe at night and were less likely to be vandalised
- Everyone loved the waterfall feature and the wooden benches to sit around it
- The ground floor flats with a small front garden entrance and a larger fenced back garden
- People really loved the playful space and walkway on the boundary of the estate. It was spacious, felt private and soft with a nice splash of colour and winding footpaths
- The playground boundary of the estate was a very pleasant walkway and felt similar to Knight’s Walk with taller buildings on one side and a lower, open space on the other
- The fact that some of the older trees were kept and integrated into the play space and walkways, keeping some of the wildlife and habitats from before.
- The walkway on the boundary of the estate felt nice, peaceful and not overlooked despite having some new buildings near by
- People liked the mix of types of entrances and balconies across the development
- The wooden fences from peoples gardens were a good height onto the main walkway and the division between the gardens was also a nice feature
Key things people didn’t like:
- Entrances to some of the flats which were directly on the main road were seen as too harsh on the street front, especially compared with the peaceful entrances of the other buildings
- The flats facing the playful spaces would have less peace and quiet
After an excellent and tiring few hours of walking and chatting in the sun, we ended the study trip at the Tea House Theatre for sandwiches, cake and of course tea! We brought out some pictures of the two developments and everyone wrote down their thoughts on what aspects they liked and didn’t like about what we had seen on our walk.
We were thrilled to receive so many excellent comments and feedback from the residents and would like to thank everyone for coming along to share your thoughts with us.