MATA Scheme Exemplifies Good Suburban Design / by Taylan Tahir

MATA Architects are delighted that our project at Melville Avenue has been included in Croydon Council’s supplementary design guidance document as a case study exemplifying good suburban design.

A combination of the constrained land supply in London and the pressures on delivering new homes have pushed local authorities, developers and, ultimately, the public to reconsider the approach to higher-density development in order construct more homes.

The Mayor of London and the draft New London Plan highlight that “for London to accommodate growth in an inclusive and responsible way every new development needs to make the most efficient use of land. This will mean developing at densities above those of the surrounding area on most sites. The design of the development must optimise housing density[1].

While maximising and optimising a site’s potential for development is seen as favourable there is also a focus on the importance of good and considered design. The draft New London Plan outlines that “the higher the density of a development, the greater the level of scrutiny that is required of its design, particularly the qualitative aspects of the development”[2].

In response to favouring new development that the New London Plan sets out many local authorities are considering opportunities for development within their own boroughs and even reviewing supplementary planning guidance to align themselves with the Mayor’s agenda. Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) set out more detailed planning guidance regarding more broad policies outlined in a borough’s Local Plan where the broad framework for the future development of an area is identified.

This useful guidance provided to residents, developers and architects aims to raise the quality of all new residential design in the borough.

The first supplementary planning guide specifically aimed at suburban residential development has been released for public consultation by Croydon Council (draft available here).

In this progressive document, Croydon council set out a positive approach to densification in areas often characterised as in opposition to development, identifying that “some existing residential areas have the capacity to accommodate growth without significant change to its character”[3]. The creation of new residential units are encouraged through interventions such as conversion, addition, in-fill, plot subdivision, rear garden development and regeneration (replacement of existing building with larger developments).

We strongly believe that well designed, contemporary and contextual residential development, even in sensitive suburban areas, is able to optimise density and provide a positive impact on the lives of existing and future residents.

Do you have a suburban site with the potential for redevelopment?

We would love to hear about it, contact us.


[1] Mayor of London. Draft New London Plan – Chapter 3 – Policy D6 Optimising Housing Density. 2018.  (3.6.1)

[2] Mayor of London. Draft New London Plan – Chapter 3 – Policy D6 Optimising Housing Density. 2018. ( C.)

[3] Croydon Council. SPD2 - Chapter 2: Suburban Residential Development. 2018. P.18