Mikhail Riches and North Somerset Council development secures approval

3:49pm - 25 February 2021

Planning consent has been secured for a “rural sister site” to Mikhail Riches’ Stirling Prize winning Goldsmith Street scheme.

The development of 52 dwellings south of The Uplands in Nailsea, near Bristol, is on land owned by North Somerset Council.

Mikhail Riches were appointed in June 2019 following a competitive tender process using the Greater London Authority’s ADUP 2 Framework, that local authorities outside of London are able to use.

The scheme is landscape-led and highly sustainable, delivering 100 per cent Passivhaus certified homes and electrical vehicle charging throughout.

Designs reflect older parts of Nailsea nearby, but respond to the changing needs of communities, including communal garden areas, spaces for home working and the inclusion of smaller homes to facilitate downsizing and lifetime living. This includes eight bungalows, reinvented to fit modern life and adaptable for wheelchair users.

All homes will be a minimum of 10 per cent above Nationally Described Space Standards with extra storage space both internally and externally. The scheme is designed for manufacture and assembly of MMC panellised construction throughout.

The council will be seeking to procure a delivery partner for the development in the summer with the aim of work starting on site early in 2022.

"We are delighted to have been working with the award-winning Mikhail Riches team,” said Cllr Ash Cartman, the council’s executive member for finance and procurement. “This outstanding development sets a new standard for housing in North Somerset and creates an exemplar that will improve the quality of housing on offer to local people.” 

Annalie Riches, Founding Director of Mikhail Riches, said: "We're delighted that our scheme for 52 Passivhaus designed homes for North Somerset Council has gained planning permission approval. This scheme not only promotes low carbon living but also enhances biodiversity and protects wildlife corridors and is an example of what a forward-thinking council can achieve." 

Juliet Bidgood is Chair of the Design West review panel for North Somerset who reviewed the scheme at three stages before and during lockdown. She said:

"The Design West review panel were pleased to have the opportunity to comment on this innovative project. We welcomed the ambition of the project and the way it developed during the planning process. 

"We were inspired to see North Somerset leading by example using a strategic site to promote the high-quality design of housing by commissioning a talented design team. The project is a valuable demonstration of how contemporary low carbon approaches to architecture can contribute new character and difference whilst learning from the local vernacular of a place. 

"The project also has the potential to lead the way locally in how to develop homes that are part of a sociable and nature friendly landscape. The panel were impressed by the way the architect and landscape architect worked together to bring trees into street landscapes and create communal gardens and orchards. It's good to see North Somerset take practical action to address the climate and biodiversity emergencies through this approach." 

Uplands is the second scheme to be brought forward by North Somerset Council as part of its Development Programme. In October the council appointed Keepmoat Homes to deliver 425 high quality MMC homes on land it owns at Parklands Village in Weston-super-Mare, including 15 per cent zero carbon homes and 75 volumetric units. 

The council is looking to challenge the development sector to do better by working with some of the best designers in the country. It is already working with communities and partners to develop outstanding engagement and placemaking projects in Weston with Turner Works and Portishead with Allies and Morrison and will shortly be starting work on similar initiatives in Clevedon and Nailsea.

Mikhail Riches were supported by a wider design team of locally based specialists and consultants including Seed Landscape Design, Momentum Engineering, Greengauge and Vectos. North Somerset Council has also been supported by Johns Associates, Jones Lang LaSalle and Rider Levett Bucknall. 

The Uplands scheme – along with the Parklands development - has been supported by Homes England Local Authority Accelerated Construction funding.