A Central London development has gained the highest award given by Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative, for incorporating crime prevention techniques into its layout, landscaping and physical security.
The £40 million residential development in Camden Town has been developed on a previously vacant brownfield site and provides a mix of one, two, three and four bedroom family homes close to four conservation areas.
With architecture that remains sensitive to local Victorian and Georgian properties, the 164 home development is a split of 50% private and 50% affordable housing, including wheelchair accessible homes. Designed with the area's industrial heritage in mind, featuring elongated windows, high ceilings and weathered steel, the development also includes two tranquil courtyards which provide communal landscaped areas. Residents also have access to two landscaped roof terraces with sundecks, gardens, play spaces and views out over London. Planted ‘living roofs’ have also been included in the build to provide biodiversity.
An SBD trained Designing Out Crime Officer worked with the architects, Sheppard Robson, and Barratt London from the planning stages through to construction to incorporate SBD crime prevention techniques and security into the development.
These measures included the layout of the building and its immediate environment with natural surveillance from the properties over public spaces and access routes; appropriate access control systems, a concierge service and a large, secure cycle storage space. The measures, which also include doors, windows and locks which meet the enhanced Police Preferred Specification Standards, combine to make the properties more robust and less attractive to opportunist criminals.
Independent academic research shows that SBD developments that have been designed to ‘design out crime’ and include crime prevention techniques in the built environment and accredited products can reduce crimes like burglary by up to 75% in new build homes and up to 63% in refurbishments. Evidence suggests these figures are sustainable year-on-year and represent a significant reduction especially as most SBD developments are in social housing in deprived areas.
There are three levels of SBD award: Gold, Silver and Bronze. The Gold Award is the highest level and it is awarded where the physical security specification of the home is enhanced by the security provided in the external environment.
Jim Cope, Designing Out Crime Officer for the Metropolitan Police Service, said: “Considering what was there previously Barratt London and Sheppard Robson have created a very well designed and very safe environment.
“A development like this, which incorporates Secured by Design techniques and security into the build will bring long term benefits to residents and is a massive bonus for an inner city area like Camden”.
Stephen Day, Managing Director, Barratt West London, said: “We have worked very closely with Sheppard Robson to deliver a scheme that promotes safety and security at every opportunity. The incorporation of Secured by Design standards at Camden Courtyards allows residents peace of mind and helps foster a sense of community that is vital to the successful delivery of new housing in London.”
Tom Kyle, associate at Sheppard Robson, said: “Thoughtful urban design has allowed us to weave together affordable and private homes with a range of amenities whilst promoting high standards of security.
“It was important that any security measures didn’t stop the building feeling like it was part of Camden, with our design using subtle features – such as passive supervision and active frontages – to achieve this.”
The creativity of the Camden Courtyards development in addressing the issues of density and affordable housing in Central London saw it win the 2018 Greater London Authority award at the Housing Design Awards, where recognition was given to how the project engages with several pertinent and timely urban issues, from creating a high-density, mid-rise development to the provision of 50% affordable homes.
The development was also shortlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) London Awards 2018 and was shortlisted in the housing category at the NLA Awards 2018.
At the completion of the build pupils from Hawley Primary school lowered a time capsule into the ground containing Camden life in 2017. The time capsule, which is due to be brought back to the surface for reopening in 2042, contains a range of popular items from recent years, including a Harry Potter book signed by the pupils, a fidget spinner, video interviews with local residents, newspaper cuttings of current environmental issues and letters written to future residents.
Secured by Design: Secured by Design, the national police crime prevention initiative, aim to achieve sustainable reductions in crime through design and other approaches to enable people to live in a safer society.
We work in partnership with National and Local Government, British and European standards authorities, trade associations, the construction industry, manufacturers and many other organisations to reduce crime and the fear of crime by incorporating proven crime prevention techniques into the built environment.
We have more than 200 SBD trained police officers and staff in Police Forces around the UK. These Designing Out Crime Officers work with architects, developers and local authority planners to build in tried, tested and proven crime prevention techniques at the planning stage to reduce crime and keep communities safe.
SBD seeks to reduce crime by combining minimum standards of physical security like doors, windows and locks that achieve SBD’s Police Preferred Specification standard and proven design principles of the built environment such as natural surveillance and defensible space.
Whilst police are unable to recommend specific products, SBD can act as an effective gatekeeper and signposting service to our 650+ member companies and their products, which meet our rigorous Police Preferred Specification standards.
Members’ products range from secure and robust doors, windows and locks through to cutting-edge IT products, CCTV components, and shutters and barriers. SBD is the only way for companies to obtain police accreditation for security products in the UK.
SBD developments include such iconic sites as the 2012 London Olympics, Wembley Stadium and the Welsh and Scottish Assembly buildings.
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