This PegasusLife scheme will provide 89 retirement apartments and communal facilities on a brownfield site on the edge of Tunbridge Wells town centre. The highly sustainable site lies on St Johns Road, a key thoroughfare with easy access to the local bus network and local railway station. A local centre within 200m of the site features a wide range of shops, pubs and cafes and the town centre is also within easy walking distance. The development will provide a range of apartment types for the ageing population, allowing people to live locally for longer and maximise their independence.
The site is currently occupied by a regional bus depot which was built around 1930. The proposed design will enhance the local setting by reinstating the domestic character of the area. This is achieved by demolishing the depot and constructing three new buildings, sensitively arranged around a landscaped garden to reinforce street frontages whilst respecting the scale and massing of surrounding buildings. External finishes have been chosen to reflect local context and include brick, reconstituted stone and render.

The primary building located on St Johns Road references the classical proportions of the adjacent listed building. This five-storey proposal has a scale appropriate to the wide street and large surrounding buildings. The building to the north of the site has a smaller scale and references the domestic vernacular of the surrounding residential properties on Woodbury Park Road.
The proposals utilise the sloped topography of the site to accommodate an undercroft car park whilst minimising the overall height of the development. The buildings have been orientated on a north/south axis to maximise the benefits of daylight and sunlight and fully exploit views to the east.

Communal facilities are located on the ground floor, adjacent to the main access from St Johns Road. This ensures the facilities are easily accessible to both residents and visitors. The apartments above are arranged around full-height atriums which allow natural light to reach the centre of the buildings. These atriums also assist in wayfinding as residents can clearly interpret the building layout. Internal circulation areas are generously proportioned and have been designed to provide opportunity for social interaction
All apartments feature large windows to maximise daylight and balconies which provide external amenity space. The upper floors are set back from the primary façade providing generous terrace areas and minimising overshadowing to neighbouring properties.

Although the development seeks to reduce dependency on cars, parking has been provided for 70% of dwellings. To minimise the impact on external amenity space, much of this is concealed within the undercroft car park, along with the refuse and recycling storage. Additional parking is provided within a landscaped area to the rear of the site. A mobility scooter garage has also been integrated into the development, providing parking and charging facilities for residents.

A notional ha-ha along the main site frontage will minimise unrestricted access and provide security without visual barriers, allowing the building to integrate successfully into the local surroundings.

Planning History

A full planning application was submitted to Tunbridge Wells.

Project Team

Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Developer: PegasusLife

Development Data

Site size (ha): 0.54
Estimated date of completion: 01/2020
Schedule of accommodation: 29x1 bed, 47x2 bed, 13x3 bed
Tenure mix: 100% private
Size of typical home: 74
Parking spaces: 63

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