Case studies

Leap Close, Hailsham, East Sussex

The redevelopment of an industrial site into 12 attractive homes to address the local housing need in Hailsham.

Client Wealden District Council
Contractor Trinity Homes
Architect Churchill Hui

The project

This scheme involved the demolition of 12 no. 1950s light industrial buildings on Leap Cross Enterprise Centre in the suburban area of Hailsham in East Sussex. The existing buildings were no longer profitable or fit for purpose. After an extensive consultation period, a mix of maisonettes and houses was specified to create 12 no. new affordable homes close to the town centre and Berwick railway station.

Our role

Churchill Hui was engaged by Wealden District Council as planning Architects for the development of the Leap Cross site into affordable housing. We designed 6 no. houses (4 x 2-bedroom and 2 x 3-bedroom) and 6 no. maisonettes. The plans were generally well received by stakeholders and took into account feedback from local residents. Minimum specifications for noise, light, services, size, layout and sustainability were set by our Client and adhered to.

The modern homes are restricted to two storeys high in keeping with surrounding area. The six houses have private gardens, as do the ground floor maisonettes which also benefit from an extended living room ‘bay’ with corner window looking out onto the lawn. The first floor residents enjoy generous outdoor space consisting of an 18 sq.metre terrace separated by screens for privacy. The interior design is contemporary and open, with secure bin and cycle storage to the exterior.

On both the houses and maisonettes, Oriel windows with mid-grey window frames compliment the blue-grey zinc standing seam roofs and downpipes. They are finished in an attractive cream render and traditional orange brick. Zinc standing seam canopies/fascias match the roof, on a brick pier to match the facing wall. The gable end of the roofs face the street elevation for a ‘saw tooth’ appearance.

Hedges and evergreen trees were retained, pollarded and more planted as appropriate. There is a new domestic road with adequate room for large vehicles to drive and turn within the site. 24 parking spaces serve the residents and their visitors. The overall design respects the surrounding neighbours, retaining privacy and space between buildings and boundaries.

The result

Leap Close is an attractive development providing quality housing for local Hailsham residents, making better use of the previously-industrial site. All properties were allocated by the time the scheme was handed over, so none were empty at any stage.

At a relaxed opening ceremony attended by local councillors, stakeholders and designers including Churchill Hui, proud residents opened their homes to the public.

Cllr Pam Doodes, Vice Chairman of Wealden District Council said: “This project has been a great success largely due to the team who have worked on it, and this bears testament to Wealden District Councilís commitment to partnership working. I would like to thank Architects Churchill Hui, for designing such a striking scheme, Baily Garner, who provided Employerís Agent services for this project, and Trinity Homes, a local company, who built the homes.”

Cllr Graham Wells, Portfolio Holder for Housing, added. “We are proud to be delivering such good quality housing, challenging many of the misconceptions around Council Housing, and most importantly striving to counter housing need within the District.”

The scheme was named Inside Housing magazine’s ‘Development of the Week’ shortly after the official opening.