Icon, Street, Somerset

Planning and Process

The Icon residential quarter is built on the 4.9ha site of the original Clarks shoe factory in Street, a Victorian industrial market town of 11,100 residents. While shoes are no longer made in Street, the project started with the Clarks family’s vision for a new development of outstanding quality mixed tenure homes built to a high environmental standard as a lasting legacy for the town.  Icon is in the suburban area of Street, 100m from the High Street.

Icon, which includes Lime Tree Square, is part of the first phase of a 400-home scheme and includes 138 properties at the southern end of the site close to the town centre.  It comprises apartment blocks and mews and terraced housing. 

Icon, Street, Somerset
 Icon, Street, Somerset
© Insidehousing

Outline permission was granted for a housing scheme in 2004 as part of a land swap deal. This enabled an earlier Local Plan housing allocation to be re-sited closer to the High Street, while allowing Clarks to build a distribution centre nearby, thus safeguarding the company’s presence in Street.
 

Partnerships

The development reflects close working between land owners C & J Clark International, architects Feilden Clegg Bradley, landscape architects Grant Associates, Kingstone Housing Association, Mendip District Council and Somerset County Council
 

Climate Change

The development achieves an Eco Homes 2006 excellent rating and conforms to the water and energy standards of the code for sustainable homes.
 

Community Benefits and Community Engagement

Icon delivers innovative housing around Lime Tree Square, which provides a physical and social centre for the community.

There was extensive community consultation, including a stakeholder group, ‘planning for real’ workshops and visits to housing developments demonstrating best practice in sustainability. 
 

Design

The Clarks vision established the development principles, with a commitment to quality and public involvement.  The brief, adopted by the Council in 2005, included among other things:

  • a coherent network of footpaths and cycleways linking the site to existing routes, local facilities and public transport nodes;
  • extending existing development along the West End frontage while encouraging views into the site; and
  • Integrating new housing with existing local housing, and making provision for rear vehicular access to existing properties. 

By taking an innovative approach to highways design, Icon redefines the idea of the square and the street as shared spaces for pedestrians and vehicles, to create a series of traffic calmed social spaces. It develops routes to other parts of the town to create new desire lines and links.  The development is open, accessible, easy to move through and displays a carefully balanced arrangement of buildings, spaces, and links.  There is a hierarchy of private, semi-private and public spaces.
 

Learning from the past and Present

Clarks, like many other industrialists of their time, built terraces of model homes for their workers and provided community facilities and this scheme follow in that spirit.  The houses lend the scheme a strong sense of identity thanks to contemporary and robust design that references the materials and colour palette of the local area.  The design includes retention of an old stone barn on West End

Links for further information

www.hdawards.org/archive/2010/winning_schemes/overall_winner/index.php

www.buildingforlife.org/case-studies/lime-tree-square/introduction

www.cabe.org.uk/case-studies/lime-tree-square

Brian Human
Vice Chair HTF
August 2010