We reached an important milestone last week when members of our team made the first site visit to a new development project at Henlow Academy in Bedfordshire. This is following our successful application to Central Bedfordshire Council for planning permission on behalf of the Academy, to a building design we had produced.
Construction has begun on a four-court sports hall and new classrooms, which will form the cornerstone of a larger site development project. We have already overseen the construction of a link extension and internal alterations to the main building in 2017, but the Academy will benefit still further from the latest increase in sports provision and additional teaching space.
The principal contractor, Borras Construction, has made a start on foundation trenches with the first inspection completed by Central Bedfordshire Council Building Control. We are looking forward to seeing progress as we oversee the construction throughout the nine month build period.
Henlow Academy undertook a number of improvements to their site over the summer. These included a link corridor extension to improve dining facilities, and also internal alterations to a couple of classrooms and the science laboratory.
We were brought in at the beginning of the project by the Academy’s Headteacher, Caren Earp. Our involvement included preparing drawings, administering the planning application and building control process with Central Bedfordshire Council, creating the technical design and specification, and subsequently the procurement and contract administration of the builders.
The first floor science room refurbishment presented some interesting technical and logistical challenges. A specialist laboratory furniture company was brought in to design and install a new bench configuration to increase the workstation capacity. The gas supply to the lab was also upgraded.
A new bright coat of paint has completed the refurbishment scheme, and the Academy is now well-equipped to cover the science part of the curriculum in the future.
We have recently completed our second project on the site of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Caddington. The school was seeking to provide extra accommodation for some of the pupils as a break-out space. Our suggestion was a neat single classroom unit in the form of a timber lodge, with a simple internal space suitable for teaching smaller groups. Fit-out costs were kept to a minimum, and the building is kept warm with electric storage heaters, avoiding the need for expensive service connections.
In addition, the lodge is environmentally-friendly with the use of a timber frame, cladding and recycled building products, as well as low energy lighting. Construction firm JET Construction were respectful and efficient, as well as accommodating last minute requests from the client, creating a well-finished learning environment.
The school is delighted with the new lodge building, and is already seeing the benefits of having the extra independent classroom space.
One of our residential clients with a detached house in West Byfleet has recently been granted planning permission by Woking Borough Council for a new garage and workshop.
This is a slightly challenging site, as the current asbestos-clad garage (which is old and unattractive) forms part of the boundary with the next door neighbour. A good case had to be made to the local planning authority; our design has a pitched tiled roof to make it neater and more linear, and the building will be timber clad which will smarten up the appearance for both the homeowner and their neighbour, replacing the current old concrete walls.
The new building will offer superior useful storage space, and enough headroom for a modest workshop.
Parents and children were invited along to attend the official opening of a brand new pre-school building, which has just completed on the site of Clophill St Mary’s Lower School in Bedfordshire. PCMS Design has been involved in this project since its inception, working together with the school governors and management team on the design, planning application process, specification, tendering and finally the contract administration of the build.
There is a large bright playroom with kitchenette, plus a small admin area with office and store room. As the pre-school is on the site of a former Victorian school building, the design reflects some of those features with brick elevations and a slate roof, and tall feature windows at the end of the play room.
The official opening ceremony was attended by the Bishop of Bedford the Rt Revd Richard Atkinson, and staff are now preparing for the first wave of pre-schoolers.
Headteacher Karen Bingley said: “We were so pleased today to officially open our new pre-school building, which is a superb addition to the school site. PCMS Design has looked after the whole project for us, and assisted particularly in the later stages with contract administration. We now have a beautiful and well-designed building for our pre-school children, and the whole community will benefit from it for years to come.”
Following months of preparation, our team was very pleased yesterday when Central Bedfordshire Council’s Development Management Committee granted planning permission for the construction of a four-court sports hall with associated changing rooms, and also six new classrooms over two storeys at Henlow Academy in Bedfordshire.
This is a notable achievement for the Academy, which is seeking additional space to accommodate a temporary increase in pupil numbers over the next 3-4 years. It means that Phase II of the Academy’s site development programme can now go ahead. Phase I, which included a new link corridor and refurbishment works to several classrooms, was carried out this summer.
In addition to the sports hall, which will allow the Academy to substantially expand the range of sports on offer to pupils and the wider community, there will be improvements to the on-site car park, school bus bays and nearby public highway.
We are now looking forward to working with the Academy on the project management of the next stages, with a view to the classrooms being in operation for the 2018 academic year.
When the owners of a lovely barn conversion in Buckinghamshire approached us with a view to extending their home, we made an appraisal of how this could be quickly and practically achieved. A small (and rather inharmonious) conservatory had been added to the side elevation in the past, and our advice was to replace this with a more attractive – and larger – single storey kitchen extension.
An added benefit of our design is that because the extension is to the side elevation and does not exceed the dimensions allowed under Permitted Development (PD) legislation, then planning permission is not necessary. However, we advised applying to the Local Authority for a ‘Lawful Development Certificate’.
Aylesbury Vale District Council agreed that our design came under Permitted Development rights and issued the Certificate. Our client looks forward to moving ahead with the build as soon as possible.
If you would like advice on which types of domestic or commercial development come under Permitted Development rules, do get in touch with us.
Last week, we were pleased to be present at the final handover of a residential rear extension to a detached home in Buckinghamshire.
The original brief was to design a space large enough for a full-sized snooker table. We developed a design for a one and a half storey room with glazed doors, applied on behalf of the homeowner for planning permission, assisted with procurement of suitable builders, and then carried out project management of the build.
What we were not expecting upon our final visit was the bold interior design scheme which had been carefully chosen by the homeowner for his new games room. The green snooker table is contrasted by bright red walls, and a very fetching bar, the front of which is apparently clad in the owner’s family tartan! The room has a bright, fun feel – great to entertain and relax in.
A family in a village to the east of Oxford was extremely pleased this week to receive planning consent from South Oxfordshire District Council for a two storey side extension to their home. Because the house is situated within the Oxford Green Belt, a convincing case had to be made that the scheme complied with current planning policy for development with the Green Belt.
SODC Green Belt planning policy states that an extension should be no greater than 40% of the volume of the original dwelling. As the premises had already been extended to the rear, our design brought the total volume added since first construction to 65%. This is outwith planning policy, and our argument centred on how much the dwelling could potentially be extended using permitted development rights alone. Our convincing explanation, along with a sympathetic design, was accepted by planners.
Once extended, the house will have a new master bedroom and en suite bathroom upstairs and the added benefit of a shower room and utility on the ground floor, creating a more spacious and attractive family home.
Aylesbury Vale District Council recently granted planning permission for three of our residential projects in the space of a week.
Two of our clients live next door to each other in a pair of semi-detached dwellings. We advised that it can sometimes be easier to apply for permission to carry out construction works together. In this case, permission was given for both to construct a two storey rear extension to their homes, larger than they could have achieved independently. There should be cost savings available if both appoint the same builders to carry out the extension works simultaneously.
Our third residential client located near our office in Haddenham would like to build a modest single storey rear extension and also convert their garage with a view to creating a larger kitchen / breakfast room. Planning permission was granted 10 days ahead of the deadline, and everyone is very pleased to have received consent so quickly.