Mill Hill project passes tough new GLA carbon emission regulations

One of the first large-scale regeneration schemes to be submitted under London’s tough new environmental rules has won planning approval.

The Mayor of London has given the go-ahead for the major regeneration of the former Pentavia Retail Park in Barnet, north London, which will provide 844 new homes and civic spaces.

Permission for the development was refused by the local council in 2018, but plans were later changed and resubmitted after the Mayor ‘called-in’ in the decision.

But, because the Greater London Authority (GLA) introduced new 'carbon factor' rules in January 2019 - which changed the way carbon emissions are calculated for all new developments - engineering consultancy chapmanbdsp had to redesign the energy strategy for the whole scheme to ensure it met the tougher criteria.

The changes meant chapmanbdsp, which provided mechanical, electrical, public health and environmental design solutions for the project, had to focus the strategy on the benefits of greener electricity.

The scheme, which finally won approval in late July, will now achieve a minimum 50 per cent carbon emission reduction on-site, with zero carbon emission secured for the domestic assets via a carbon offset payment, and a 5 per cent reduction in household energy demand.

The 170 tonnes of carbon savings each year is equivalent to approximately 20 homes’ annual energy use.

The project for Meadow Residential, which was designed by award-winning architecture and interior design practice Arney Fender Katsalidis (AFK), will deliver 844 new homes, 41 per cent of which will be affordable.

The development will also provide an expansive central ‘green heart’ of landscaped spaces and pocket parks together with new retail and amenity space for residents and the wider Mill Hill area.

The ‘re-imagination’ of the Pentavia Retail Park will also improve its biodiversity and sustainability. Some 660 new trees will be planted to act as ‘green lungs’, absorbing about 14.52 tonnes of carbon each year for the community.

A further 10,193 square metres worth of terraces, balconies and rooftop amenity space – an area larger than two football pitches – will also be provided for residents to enjoy.

The site will also be ‘stitched’ back into Mill Hill through enhanced transport links and new cycle and pedestrian connections and access routes.

Joanna Conceicao, associate at chapmanbdsp who designed the environmental strategy for the scheme, said: “We have worked closely with the architects tweaking the façade design to improve the fabric energy efficiency and minimise overheating risk, whilst exploring the feasibility of a heat pump energy strategy solution alongside our mechanical and electrical teams to meet the site’s demand and comply with the GLA requirements.

“It was great working with Meadow Residential and AFK and to get scheme through planning.”

Andrew McDaniel of Meadow Residential added: “Our plans for new homes at Pentavia Retail Park are precisely what London needs. Access to quality homes, at an affordable price, is something desperately needed in Mill Hill, not least for the many key public sector workers who provide vital services in local schools and hospitals, many of whom we’ve spoken to in the last few months.”

Earle Arney, chief executive of AFK, said: “The proposal ‘breathes new life’ into this brownfield site by creating a sheltered ‘green heart’ that will be blessed with fresh air, sunlight and a rich biodiversity.”


Images courtesy of Meadow Residential and AFK.