The surrounding rural context to the site in Leiston is dominated by the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, which date from the fourteenth century and are a scheduled Ancient Monument comprising a number of listed buildings. Following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536 the Abbey was repurposed as a farm with the construction of a number of new buildings over the following centuries. A number of additional farms are located in the landscape surrounding the proposed development site. Each of these consists of a cluster of agricultural buildings and service yards that are characteristic of the rural Suffolk landscape.
The development has been envisaged as a complex of low rise buildings surrounding a shared central yard. The built form is intended to reflect that of the numerous farms and agricultural clusters of buildings located in the area, resulting in a development that is aesthetically familiar and sits comfortably in the Suffolk landscape. The proposed development is to be entirely residential, with a combination of detached, semi-detached and terraced homes of differing floor areas proposed.
Individual building forms have been developed to reflect Suffolk precedents, with agricultural forms evoked around the proposed shared yard at the centre of the development and the terrace of cottages reflecting more domestic precedents. This contrast will also be manifest in the detailing of the homes, with domestic features such as chimneys and subdivided windows incorporated into the cottages but avoided in the houses addressing the yard which will feature flues and larger uninterrupted openings. A contemporary language is proposed throughout however, rather than a replication of historic features.
A limited palette of materials will unite the scheme, with soft red brick and flint being used for walls together with a combination of black stained and painted timber cladding. This will be predominantly vertical batten and board. Roofs are to be of clay pantiles, with black corrugated metal used for the secondary roofs of the car ports between dwellings along with photovoltaic panels. Rainwater goods will be zinc. Timber front doors, windows and feature panels will be finished in a complementary colour.