Firle, East Sussex
The Firle Expansion Project was a feasibility study to test the potential development of a 1.2 hectare site allocated within the village of Firle, East Sussex.
Instigated by the Firle Estates Housing Needs Register, which has been closed since 2012, the study investigated the potential capacity offered by the site and its ability to satisfy the Firle Estate, the Firle villagers, and Parish Councils needs.
Additionally, the design had to meet the design criteria, aspirations and special qualities of the South Downs National Park. This had to be done in such a way which links village growth to the sustainable management of the South Downs. In relation to this the possible integration of a District Biomass heating system was identified, making use of the Estate’s 400 acres of managed woodland.
BBM Sustainable Design also worked in collaboration with landscape architects Studio Engleback and engaged with the findings and recommendations of their site appraisal work. Within their report the impact on views from Firle Beacon was highlighted as a major consideration. In response to this a design which has a linear layout was formed.
A time depth analysis looking at the historic development of Firle Village was also produced. The linear expansion of the village along the main road is clearly evident with the majority of recent development located in West Firle. Furthermore, the changing field layouts are of significant interest. As with field layouts, good low energy design has to respond to exploiting good solar access. This suggests that any future development needs to consider whether or not it is designed to afford cheap to heat architecture or instead find form and articulation which mimicks older patterns of development but may be limited in terms of its ability to generate passive/ active solar energy.