Inclusive Design and Co-production – Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall

Tracey Proudlock on February 20, 2019

We are delighted to announce the news that our inclusive design work restoring Hammersmith and Fulham’s Grade 2 listed town hall, its new Town Square and four new surrounding buildings has been approved at planning committee.

Alongside Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) and Gillespies landscape architects we have been in co-production with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham’s Disabled Residents Team (DRT) to add floors and terraces to the town hall. There will also be 204 new homes, a new cinema and offices within a much- improved public space.

The project is known formally as the West King Street development and the Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall lies at its heart, physically and administratively speaking.

An artist’s impression of Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall Development. Illustrations courtesy of inclusion colleagues at 7-t
An artist’s impression of Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall Development. Illustrations courtesy of inclusion colleagues at 7-t (http://7-t.co.uk/)

The historic town hall is to be extensively refurbished with new entrances, much improved horizontal and vertical circulation and new terraces which will host events amongst other uses.

The DRT is made up of local disabled people who worked alongside us in the design process to develop inclusive design across the scheme. Meeting regularly with the design team led by Mark Rintoul of RSHP, we sat together and were able to hold inclusion high on the agenda when co-ordinating with architects, consultants and the council officers.

Proudlock Associates designed and delivered a training day for the DRT members in technicalities such as reading architectural plans, interpreting drawings and symbols, and in how the planning process works. The lead architects (RSHP) and the planning consultant (Barton Wilmore) also contributed to these sessions.

The training covered issues such as explaining how to work practically beyond the minimum standards of access and how to look for opportunities to be inclusive during the appraisal process.

Proudlock Associates’ Role:

Through appraisals and constant reviewing, we provided regular feedback to the designers to raise the quality of designs by identifying and resolving key and then detailed issues, many that were tabled by the DRT from their own experiences. We used our own experience too, in terms of best practice standards previously achieved on projects successfully, in order to co- ordinate with the DRT on proposals for the architects to then integrate into their designs.

The work included site visits to discuss and resolve design issues in the landscape which will provide for four new buildings and within the existing historic town hall with its many challenges.

Inclusive Design Outcomes:

The West King Street Development will provide a high level of inclusive design. Here is a brief summary of the best practice elements people can expect to find within the scheme.

An artist’s impression of Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall Development. Illustrations courtesy of inclusion colleagues at 7-t
An artist’s impression of Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall Development. Illustrations courtesy of inclusion colleagues at 7-t (http://7-t.co.uk/)

Wheelchair accessible/adaptable (M4(3)) units are spread across the residential blocks in terms of location, being on different levels and in different parts of the buildings. This allows a greater choice for disabled residents when it comes to choosing a home in terms of not only tenure but views, access to amenities and proximity to local transport.

-Wheelchair storage spaces in homes are directly next to the front doors of dwellings;

-Steps and ramps have been designed out of all primary access routes in the landscape.

-Approaches to homes and entrances do not differ where they serve wheelchair accessible dwellings but meet the higher standards everywhere.

-Access to two lifts is best practice under the London Plan, and is provided in Block C.

-Within the larger (private) part of Block A the best practice standard is exceeded as there are three lifts serving homes on first to fourth floors (two lifts serve the main private tenure parts of the block on the 5th floor as the floor is reduced at this level).

-All the car parking for residents / visitors is of an accessible standard and will be for Blue Badge or similarly qualified individuals only.

-Adapted cycle spaces and spaces with charge points for mobility scooters are provided;

-A Changing Places Facility is provided;

-A larger size than standard Part M Unisex Accessible WC is provided in the Town Hall main reception;

-An enclosed and managed toilet area for assistance dogs is located near to the Town Hall entrance.

Further enquiries: If you would like to find out more about inclusive design or would like some help to review accessibility at your business, please call on 0845 130 1669 or email tracey@proudlockassociates.com.

More about the co-production: This West King Street development co-production first came out of a recommendation from The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Disabled People Commission (DPC), chaired by Tara Flood, this group was made up of ten disabled residents of the borough. Five of the commissioners joined the Disabled Residents Team for this town hall redevelopment project. The DPC reported (November 2017) on the many different types of barriers disabled residents told them about and as a result, the DPC decided ‘the best approach would be to change the way we are involved in decision making’.

“Co-production (working together) means local disabled residents are working together with decision makers to actively identify, design, and evaluate policy decisions and service delivery that affect our lives and remove the barriers we face”. (DPC report, November 2017)

“This work will be co-produced with disabled people to ensure that the plans are to the highest standard of inclusive design”