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Laundry Lane: new housing in old buildings: ‘an imaginative redevelopment’

  • by JW

“Making the most the inherent character of this brick built Victorian former steam laundry.” [Stags estate agents]


Back in January, there was some very innovative and inspiring development underway in Sidford – at Laundry Lane – with new housing in old buildings.

These Victorian buildings were initially put on the market with planning permission – and are now on the market as completed dwellings – for example, a 3 bedroom terraced house for sale in Laundry Lane.

As the estate agents’ blurb says, there is a lot of intact interesting historic detail – and the Historic Building Recording and Archaeological Watching Brief confirms that this goes beyond mere sales patter:

This assessment has established a phasing of the buildings within the Site and an assessment of their significance. The assessment has concluded that whilst change is being introduced to the Old Laundry via its redevelopment, this change reverses some of the harm created during the years when the building was derelict, and it ensures the building is conserved and put into active and appropriate use. The scheme proposes some alterations which result in change to a limited amount of the Old Laundry structure. However, the net impact when all factors are considered, including the conservation of the asset and the betterment of its surroundings results in a net positive overall outcome for the building, and its significance based on its current baseline condition is preserved.

There are further odd pieces of photography of the old laundry building and an obituary from 2010 of the former Sidford laundry boss which gives further life and depth to a fascinating place.

But it is in today’s Herald where Roger Marks gives us a forward and backward appreciation at the site, looking at Sidford’s Old Steam Laundry – an imaginative redevelopment. Here are a couple of his paragraphs:

… the site’s potential for redevelopment was explored by a planning application for new dwellings which was refused because of its situation in a Flood Zone. East Devon District Council were, nevertheless, keen to see the site spruced up and were amenable to a scheme that included in it an element of the original industrial use, within the brief that “employment must be retained on site”.

Enter Dan Wilkinson, M.Eng C.Eng M.I.StructE, who drew up and submitted plans for a scheme comprising three dwellings within the large laundry building, two living/work units in the workshop and one dwelling in The Forge. His scheme retained many architectural features of the large laundry unit including brick arches, a semi-circular feature window and, most particularly, steel trusses supporting the huge vaulted roof. The existing tie-members of the trusses restricted the headroom to only 1.2 metres but by re-configuring the struts and ties (whilst in situ!) the trusses were able to remain as a visual reminder of the building’s history, and the Building Regulations headroom requirements were met.

To finish, here’s one of several photos from the Right Move website of one of estate agents Stags offer:

3 bedroom terraced house for sale in Laundry Lane, Sidford, Sidmouth, EX10

Number 2 is the first property in this unique small development, which has been thoughtfully planned to make the most the inherent character of this brick built Victorian former steam laundry. Sustainably converting the building into three high quality homes, local crafts people have retained and enhanced the features of this fantastic building to create an aspirational living environment, using quality materials including aluminium standing seam cladding and a slate roof.