The Cross Lane Fields site is sustainably located on the southern side of Harpenden, 2km from the Town Centre. Residential development is located immediately north and west and the Bedford to Brighton railway aligns the eastern site boundary. The site forms a well-contained parcel and substantial mature trees and hedgerows largely restrict views into and out of the site. Our ambition is to create a pioneering development of custom and self-build homes built to the highest standards of design, sustainability and energy efficiency which sit comfortably in their surroundings and enhance the local area.
The outline planning application for the proposals is supported by a detailed and well-considered Design Code produced in collaboration with ImaginePlaces. This sets the framework and ‘rules’ which the new homes will follow to ensure a high quality, contextual scheme which responds appropriately to its setting and delivers a well-designed, cohesive development while allowing flexibility of design and specification for individuals to design and build their own home. Through Building with Nature and Passivhaus accreditation, the proposals will achieve an exemplar scheme which is an asset to Harpenden while providing serviced self-build plots and affordable homes to help meet local need.
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The key design objective is to create a 21st century neighbourhood that reflects the site’s agricultural use, heritage and landscape context while reducing the carbon footprint of the new homes and increasing the biodiversity of the site.
The design codes explore farmstead typologies, more utilitarian agricultural building characteristics and 21st century pioneering low carbon design, construction and living for a domestic context. Through the provisions made in the design codes and parameter plans, the development will deliver exceptional design quality and create an enjoyable and beautiful place to live throughout the seasons while at the same time enhancing the site and the surrounding area through its distinctly rural-agricultural identity.
The proposals aim to achieve full Building with Nature Accreditation. Building with Nature is about bringing people closer to nature and building great places to live, work and play, achieving development that contributes towards better health and wellbeing and tackling our climate and ecological emergencies (Building with Nature Standards Framework (BwN 2.0)). The Building with Nature Standard requires development to go beyond standard practice to deliver multifunctional spaces for new and existing communities that are: close to nature; supportive of nature’s recovery; adapted for and resilient to climate change; and deliver cost effective ecosystem services such as water management and flood prevention.
More information on Building with Nature can be found on their website:
More information on Passivhaus and self-build can be found on the Passivhaus Trust’s website:
Lansdown has undertaken extensive community and stakeholder engagement on the proposed development, and this has directly informed and shaped the proposals. Early in the design process, a full day public engagement Design Day was held on Saturday 24 September at Cross Farm led by Angela Koch of ImaginePlaces and her team. This comprised a public briefing presentation in the morning explaining the development ethos and setting out the site analysis and vision for the proposals, followed by a site visit and an interactive charette-style design workshop in the afternoon, using 3D scaled model material.
Prior to the Design Day, leaflets were sent to approximately 2500 local households, potential self-builders and local stakeholders informing them about the proposed development, setting out the core commitments and standards for the scheme and inviting them to attend the Design Day and follow-up online debrief.
An online public debrief was held on the evening of Friday 30 September. The debrief presented the outcomes of the design workshop, some key topic content for the emerging design codes and provided further detail on the planning application strategy in response to queries raised by the public during the Design Day. Attendees also had the opportunity to ask questions of the project team.
On 1 November Lansdown and ImaginePlaces attended Harpenden Town Council’s Planning Committee meeting to brief Councillors on the initial proposals for the scheme and inform them about the public consultation that had already been undertaken.
Lansdown has also engaged with potential self-builders who have connected with us through the above public engagement and through the surveys on the Lansdown website.