The UK’S biggest timber development ever?

Pells Garden rain garden (Human Nature with Periscope)

The recently announced Phoenix Development in Lewes looks set to be the largest timber development the UK has ever seen.

It is currently awaiting planning permission but, fingers crossed, it will provide 700 sustainably sourced timberframe homes. The developers, Human Nature, hope to kick-start a whole new revival in sustainable forestry in southeast England.

Phoenix development Lewes - Human Nature

Detail from physical model; Image © Human Nature

Good news for Lewes

The Phoenix is a proposed sustainable neighbourhood on a former industrial site in Lewes, a historic town within the South Downs National Park. Teams of some of the UK’s brightest architectural practices and engineers will all be working together, including TDUK members Whitby Wood as executive engineers as specialist timber consultants, and Eurban who have provided advice on mass timber for the project.

The 7.9 hectare scheme has a projected £430m gross development value and will create 381 permanent jobs and 525 jobs in construction. The masterplan lays out the mix of housing, community buildings, public squares and gardens.

Tons of timber

The majority of the residential buildings will use a standardised ‘kit of parts’ system, with structural frames and cassettes manufactured offsite. CLT, glulam and LVL will be used.

The Design & Access statement also emphasizes the use of locally sourced Sussex timber: it will be interesting to see how this relates to the mass timber mentioned.

Phoenix Lewes - Adam Richards Architects, Human Nature with Periscope

River edge housing CGI. Image © Human Nature/Adam Richards Architects

Energy use

Insulation standards for the housing promises a reduction of 80% in heating bills for the residents relative to comparable average types. All of the development’s power will be generated by renewables.

The full DAS can be read online at: It’s a great read.


This article is from issue 03 of Designing Timber. Read more articles from the magazine here.