Design Objectives

The ambition is for a development that enhances the essence and spirit of the core features and characteristics that identify the area of Hawley Green. It should be appropriate to its position and reinforce Hawley Green as a centre of the surrounding community. It is intended that the development will stand the test of time in the same way as the existing core community buildings and should therefore offer flexibility to adapt different future needs without the need for extensive adaption. This ability to adapt will also enhance the future economic sustainability of the development through its life.

The design will therefore adopt features of the key relevant surrounding buildings but will be a 21st Century in its ability to support a variety of different community related uses within its lifetime.


Day Nursery Statutory Requirements

The premises will need to be inspected as part of the OFSTED registration procedure prior to use. The inspection requirements are defined in the OFSTED document “Early years and childcare registration handbook” (January 2016) A copy can be inspected by clicking here. 

The relevant safeguarding and welfare requirements contained for “childcare on non-domestic premises” include:

  • Check that the applicant has fully considered that all parts of the premises used for childcare are safe, secure and suitable for their purpose
  • Be confident by the end of the visit that the applicant’s assessment of the risks, and their proposals for managing the risks, are acceptable.

During the registration visit, the inspector must be satisfied that the applicant has identified any risks associated with the premises and equipment, and knows what they need to do to reduce or eliminate these risks. This also applies to areas that are out of bounds, but where children could access them. If the applicant has not covered all relevant risks and identified steps to deal with them, then the inspector must record this in their evidence and will normally recommend that registration is refused.

Minimum staff time working directly with children in group settings

Child Age

Required staff ratio

Under 2 years

1 staff / 3 children

2 years

1 staff / 4 children

3+ years

1 staff / 8 children

Minimum indoor space requirements

Child Age

Indoor space required

Under 2 years

3.5m2 / child

2 years

2.5m2 / child

3+ years

2.3m2 / child

Minimum indoor space requirements must be based on the net or usable areas of rooms used by the children, not including storage areas, thoroughfares, dedicated staff areas, cloakrooms, utility rooms, kitchens or toilets.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework supports an integrated approach to early learning and care. It gives all professionals a set of common principles and commitments to deliver quality early education and childcare experiences to all children.

The areas of learning are:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development
  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design

Further information on EYFS can be found by clicking here.

General Day Nursery Design Requirements

The building is intended to be versatile in fit out to ensure commercial viability during its expected life. Viability is dynamic – what might appear impossible for demand and statutory reasons today may be possible in future years, so the building design should enable easy adaptation into the future to secure economic, in addition to environmental, sustainability.

  • Attention to quality of internal room spaces is important in considering layout and use issues. The intention was to create open spaces on 2 floors that could be fitted out using non-load bearing partitions. This supports the OFSTED child self determination of activities through flexible activity areas and free-flow access to outside play areas.
  • Ground floor open area for fit out with free flowing activity areas to support EYFS Curriculum areas of learning, incorporating free access to secure external activity areas. Examples of furniture and fitout case studies can be seen by clicking here
  • Secure pickup / drop off and reception area. 
  • Upstairs accommodates staff areas and crèche facilities with a supervised sleep area. 
  • A separate food preparation area will be required to support places involving continuous day attendance.
  • The provision of day light into all areas, along with external views from play areas for visual stimulation
  • Access provisions conforming to both Disabled Access and Health & Safety requirements for both visitors to the building and also any potential disabled staff requirements
  • Position all services and stairs access outside of the working envelope to secure maximum space flexibility.
  • Access requirements for services to minimise security checks and safe working requirements from external contractors
  • Ducting included in the external wall and ceiling to enable services such as electrical, data networking and security services to be maintained with minimum intrusion
  • Heating and Ventilation to avoid hot surfaces with quick response to changing environmental conditions.
  • Preserve the existing perimeter planting
  • Preserve root protection areas of all trees identified within the Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
  • In areas outside of the TPO, non-excavation construction methods to be adopted to minimise disturbance to existing root systems and use of permeable surfaces to maintain water and oxygen to root systems 

Surrounding Architectural Influences

Described in the Hawley Park and Green Conservation Area – Character Appraisals and Management Proposals 12/2012 as:

“The hall stands out as a dark red brick structure with heavy black timber framing to its main barn-like form.”

“The Memorial Hall itself does seem to be based on a barn form using a heavy pine frame stained black below its half-hipped clay tiled roof. There are two tall projecting bays to both 5 front and rear elevations rather like the old midstrey entrances of agricultural barns. The windows are simple large openings and the red brick infill panels to the framing are almost square.

There have been various additions to the hall over the years, generally following the red brick and black timber theme, but with some additions more successful than others, in terms of matching the quality of the original architectural detailing.”

Described in the Hawley Park and Green Conservation Area – Character Appraisals and Management Proposals 12/2012 as:

“The Henry Randell Charity Almshouses at the northern end of the green form a delightfully detailed symmetrical block built in 1857. The date is picked out in blue header bricks on the front of the two storey central element. Either side are single storey cottage wings. The whole has wavy fretted barge boards to the clay tiled roofs with paired brick chimneys.

The brickwork is mainly in the orange/red colour typical of locally-made Hampshire bricks. The metal framed windows with leaded lights are replacements but are reasonably in character with the original.”

Originally built as a lodge house to the Minley Manor Estate.

The house has been sympathetically extended at both levels in the early 2000’s to add an additional roof gable

Approximately 50% of the surrounding garden is within the boundary of the Sites of Special Scientific Interest statutory designation and is subject to additional controls by Natural England. 

Constructed in 1990 and described in the Hawley Park and Green Conservation Area – Character Appraisals and Management Proposals 12/2012 as “Behind the Almshouses, set at a lower level within woodland, stands a modern chalet house well screened from view by its surrounding trees and bushes. This property stands just outside the conservation area and has been built in dark materials to avoid it standing out.”

Environmental + Green Credentials

The site has a number of existing Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) on perimeter trees. The TPO’s have been in place since 1990 and over the last 25 years, we have worked with the Hart District Tree Officer to enhance the existing TPOs and to perimeter plant new Beech and Oak for next generation growth. All existing trees will be retained and although not required, the investment is to be protected by using a minimal impact foundation system. This is intended to maintain the ground and established root system integrity over the entire site to both maintain healthy growth and also to ensure stability of the tree ins windy conditions. The maintenance of surface root systems is particularly relevant to Beech trees, as they have an extensive surface root systems. The surface nature of the root system can also result in stress during periods of draught.

Further information can be found by clicking here

The foundation system to be used is intended to eliminate the excavation and concrete needs of a traditional strip foundation system. Excavation for strip foundations cuts any roots and then the corrosive liquid concrete poured into the trench kills what is left of the roots.  The building loads are supported by steel piles that are screwed into the ground. Whilst the piles are screwed in using a hydraulic motor, the torque is monitored to determine when the load strata is found. The process is shown in this short animation:


A steel beam is then welded on to form a ring beam to support the building and this can be positioned above the current ground level to eliminate the need for excavation. The insertion of the piles is entirely reversible by unscrewing the piles by reversing the hydraulic motor. The hydraulic motor can be hung from a lightweight bobcat or even hand held to avoid any site compaction. The area under the nursery building remains entirely available to future tree root activity with no risk of heave effects on the structure.

To minimise the risk of downstream flooding in times of high rainfall, design is necessary to delay the rain water entering watercourses and forming a peak flow overloading the downstream network and causing flooding. Water can be temporarily stored in the underlying soil strata with delay resulting from the natural rate of water percolation. Current Building regulations require the use of permeable surfaces to allow this to happen for surfaces such as paths, driveways and hard standing areas. Hard concrete and paved areas are no longer allowed. Direct discharge into watercourses is no longer allowed for new structures. The technique  of soak-aways has been used for many years in house building, where a hole was dug in the garden and filled with general rubble. The outflow from the gutters was fed into this soak-away pit. Design has become more refined and the ability of the soil absorb the rainwater from sudden downpours  is now tested to ensure that a localised flooding problem is not introduced. This is defined as the “BRE365” test. This requires a hole of known dimensions to be dug on site and then filled with water. The time taken for the water to soak away between the 75% and 25% points is measured. The result determines if the soil strata meets the permeability requirements for on site soak-away or if the rate of drainage is so long that additional on site storage is needed to ensure localised flooding is avoided.

The local association is that the area is a sandy free draining soil, but a solid sub strata exists below that result sin poor drainage properties. A buried attenuation tank formed of plastic crates to form a temporary storage of peak rainfall is used. The tank size is determined by simulation the likely quantity of rain collected in a 1 in 100 year event.

However, the process could cause over drainage of the site compared to its current state, resulting in stress to the surrounding trees on the site. Attention has therefore been paid to make sure that water can be returned to the site in a controlled constant discharge rate to ensure that the balance between peak and mean flow can be balanced.

The transport analysis of the Hart area shows it as a predominantly car based transportation system. However, people will use alternative transport methods locally if safe and easy access methods are provided. A good pedestrian network exists around the site from all directions and a location close to Hawley Primary School encourages a single pedestrian journey.

A simple and safe access route via Green Lane provides access for pedestrian and bicycle access to Blackwater centre and Blackwater station

A general area of concern is that the pavements beside Hawley Road do not conform to current requirements for Disabled use. The width requirements are also very similar for pushchairs with walking child accompanying. There are no known plans to rectify this situation.