A positive response to ecology

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fabrik has been instrumental in helping us promote our Southminster site. From their early visioning work through to proving layouts, their diligence, attention to detail and strategic thinking have enabled us to overcome challenges and receive positive feedback through pre-application discussions with the council. 

Situated on the Dengie Peninsula, Southminster is a town in Maldon District. It lies just south of the Blackwater River, an important port dating back to Roman times.

The oldest traces of settlement go back to ancient earthworks in Pandole Wood which were estimated to date back to the Iron Age. Southminster was famous for its horse market which was held annually in the village and was a major fair in the area, with the earliest recordings of the market dating back to 1218.

St Leonard’s Church was built in the 15th century on the foundations of an earlier building.  More than likely it was this church that gave rise to the village being called Southminster, being the main church, or minster, south of Colchester.


Today, with regular connections to London Liverpool Street Station, Southminster is a vibrant and accessible commuter town.  The town is well served with local services which include a library, primary school, a police station, bakery, convenience store and several public houses.

The site at Scotts Hill is located on the western edge of the village and comprises some 15 hectares.  fabrik supported the promotion of this site through the Issues and Options Consultation at Maldon District Council. Maldon District Council consequently assessed the site favourably in their Local Development Plan review, stating that:

“On balance it is considered that development of the site would be suitable. The site is located within walking distance of services and facilities in Southminster, including the train station, school and doctors. Walking will be safe from the site, linking with the wider pavement network. The site is large enough to ensure the provision of landscaping, open space, and the maintenance and improvement to public transport.”


Further to the successful promotion, fabrik were retained to prepare an outline planning application and design guide for the site. The central theme of the proposals is to create a community housed within good-quality homes set within an attractive landscape. The masterplan aims to create a wide mix of living opportunities, supported by a comprehensive walking and cycling network, which operate in an attractive and safe environment.


The masterplan is landscape-led, with key design decisions informed by the context of the site’s landscape characteristics, along with the district’s character strategy guidelines and policy, which all played a significant role in guiding the design of the scheme.  This ensured the development caters for a range of recreational and leisure activities, as well as ensuring it will be a walkable, attractive and sustainable new neighbourhood.



A key purpose of the green infrastructure is to create a positive response to ecology and secure biodiversity net gain, whilst setting the new built form into an attractive landscape.  Elements such as existing vegetation and views were informants that helped to determine the developable area, open spaces and drainage strategy.


Overall, it is intended that the masterplan will:

  • Create circa 250 new homes in a high-quality landscaped setting, 30% of which will be affordable
  • Integrate fully with Southminster, providing links to existing schools, employment, community uses, retail, public open space and the wider network of walking routes
  • Provide a mix of house types and tenures to create a balanced community
  • Produce a well-connected street pattern, providing convenient and direct routes for pedestrian and cyclists
  • Create green links connecting habitats and opening access across the site to the countryside beyond, provide a high quality public open space for new residents to enjoy, including a space for natural equipped play and informal children’s play, as well as SuDS
  • Utilise a sustainable transport network to ensure that people can get to and from Southminster by a range of transport options. Walking and cycling links will be connected into the existing networks, linking to the local centre and Southminster Station to enable travel further afield by rail.

The scheme will have an established local identity and strong sense of place.  The evolution of the built form and proposed architectural character have developed as a result of a deep understanding and appreciation of Southminster’s history and character. Consequently, three distinctive character areas have emerged, which respond to their location and setting, and draw upon different character responses found in within Southminster and the surrounding rural area. Key vernacular architectural qualities were explored within Bloor Homes’ house type range and drawn out in the final design of homes within the scheme.


The proposals allows for the creation of a balanced and sustainable community through the development of sustainable buildings, the use of sustainable transport and the accessibility of public open space within the development, as well as being in close proximity to local community uses and facilities within Southminster.



Southminster, Essex


Awaiting determination




15 hectares

Partners & collaborators

  • Strutt and Parker
  • The Landscape Partnership
  • Ardent


Masterplanning and landscape design

St George’s Barracks
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St George’s Barracks