Category Archives: development

School Development Project Completes at Henlow

Monday, October 15th, 2018

A significant school development project has just completed at Henlow Church of England Academy to the delight of staff and pupils. PCMS Design was involved from the very outset, taking the Academy from feasibility stage when we examined the potential of providing extra accommodation on site, through to pre-planning, detailed design and specification and then lastly the construction management of the project.

The new building provides a modern four-court sports hall with changing areas, and six classrooms in an attached block. Pupils will be able to benefit from a range of sports including netball, badminton, basketball, hockey and five-a-side football. A giant projector with screen has been installed so the school can use the hall for assemblies and other teaching events. The facilities will be available to hire by the wider community.

Six new humanities and language classrooms provide the latest in educational technology with interactive whiteboards in each. Creating a bright and comfortable teaching environment has been a priority; the classrooms have been designed to meet the space and facility requirements set out by the Department for Education and include fibre optic links, Wi-Fi coverage as well as the latest modern security and fire systems.

This £2.4 million investment in Henlow Church of England Academy’s site was funded by Central Bedfordshire Council and the Education & Skills Funding Agency. Site construction works were completed on time and to budget by Borras Construction Limited.

Head teacher Caren Earp is thrilled with the new facilities: “A big thank you to PCMS Design – with all of their support, design skills and project management expertise we now have a fantastic new building which is going to be of huge benefit to our children, increasing the number and range of opportunities for sport that we can now offer.”

Alex Bond of PCMS Design commented: “We feel very privileged to have been involved with this exciting site development project at Henlow Academy. Effective communication between the design team, local authority staff, specialist consultants, builders and their sub-contractors was the key to its successful completion, ready for the new school year.”

Some of the partners and suppliers involved with the Henlow Church of England Academy project:
 Curved standing seam zinc roof on the sports hall by VMZinc: www.vmzinc.co.uk
 Akusto Impact resistant acoustic panelling in the sports hall by Ecophon: www.ecophon.com/uk
 Sports hall floor installation by Dynamik: www.dynamiksportsfloors.co.uk
 External cladding to the sports hall by Kingspan: www.kingspan.com
 Performance spec for M&E installation  BSD Consulting Engineers: www.bsdconsulting.com
 Main Contractor: www.borrasconstruction.co.uk

 

New Modular Classrooms are Lifted In!

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

It was exciting last week to be present at the lifting in of a new modular double classroom unit at Maple Tree Lower School in Sandy. The classrooms have been constructed off-site in a specialist factory, which has considerably speeded up the construction and delivery time. From signing contracts with the modular company to installation on site has been a matter of weeks rather than months, and the two classrooms will be up and running towards the end of September.

The ‘bays’ arrive with many fixtures and fittings already installed including walls, doors and ceilings – many already finished off with their final decorated surfaces. Sinks, sanitary ware and WC cubicles are also fitted at the factory, along with external wall finishes such as cedar cladding. The bays are simply craned into position on pre-prepared foundations and bolted into place.

Weather conditions were perfect for the installation which all went according to plan. Head Teacher Cath Bainbridge was on site at the time, and was full of praise for the speed and efficiency of the installation: “These new classrooms will be used by our pre-school and nursery children, and I am thrilled by the quality of the finish, and how quickly you have delivered this project for us.”

Planning Permisson for The White Lion

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

We were all extremely pleased yesterday to hear that planning and listed building consent has been granted by Chiltern District Council for The White Lion public house in St Leonards, which is Grade II Listed. This extension and renovation project will see the historic building rejuvenated and the pub re-open for business – hopefully by 2019.

Our design details a replacement rear extension to allow the bar and trading area to be extended and refurbished, and a number of repairs to the fabric of the building to safeguard it for the future. Care was taken to retain the original charm of the building, whilst addressing some significant building condition issues.

The pub has been closed for business for some years now, and since a new owner took it on we have assisted them with securing consent – which can be a painstaking process with a listed building. Strong support for the application was also given by the local Save the White Lion campaign group and the Mid-Chilterns branch of CAMRA.

On hearing the news, owner Mandy Grimwood said: “Thank you to everyone at PCMS Design for all your hard work to get the planning decision we were hoping for. We are now looking ahead to the future with optimism, when we can start trading again.”

Picture: Robert Gladstone

Planning Permission Secured for Village Dwelling

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

Residents in a village not far from our office have recently secured planning permission from South Oxfordshire District Council for a series of improvements to their home. This is an interesting example of how a series of proposals can be conveniently rolled up into one planning application.

Consented changes include a partial conversion of the integral garage to create a new utility space, a series of alterations to the walls and doors within the ground floor of the house to open up the space, and lastly conversion of an annexe outbuilding into guest accommodation. 3-D visualisations helped the homeowners to realise the potential for each of the interior spaces.

It’s not always appreciated that a series of desired home improvements can be combined together into one application, but there are advantages as this can save on planning fees and administration time. Homeowners usually have up to three years to start on the construction works, but providing some elements have already been completed they can decide to carry out the remainder at a later stage.

In the case of this village project, it is hoped that works can begin on each of the elements later this year.

 

Helping to get The White Lion Pub Back on the Map!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

We are working hard at the moment to help get a popular Grade II Listed Chilterns pub back into operation and trading again. The White Lion in St Leonards, which is much loved by local residents in the surrounding hill top villages, has had a chequered history in the last few years. It’s been closed for business since January 2014. However, the future is now looking much brighter.

The White Lion was bought by Mandy Grimwood as a business opportunity in June 2017. Mandy appointed PCMS Design to advise on the potential for the building; it was clear that in order to be a viable business the whole building required renovation and extension. Our design proposal includes the demolition of a poor quality rear toilet block and reconfiguring and enlarging the public bar and restaurant area, whilst retaining the pub’s historic character. All areas of the pub are affected by the proposed works, including the landlord’s accommodation on the first floor.

A planning application with listed building consent is currently under consideration by Chiltern District Council. Director of PCMS Design Alex Bond said: “Everyone involved in this unique project is very excited by the prospect of the pub being put back on the map, and so far it has the support of many neighbours and several groups, including the ‘Save The White Lion’ campaign. It is rare to get the opportunity to help open a pub, and we hope to see it re-open next year.”

 

Planning granted for transformative extension

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

We have recently secured planning permission from South Oxfordshire District Council for a house extension project in the market town of Thame.
Our client has recently purchased the semi-detached dwelling which is in need of considerable updating and renovation work, both inside and out. The aspiration is to create an extra bedroom and a larger, lighter modern kitchen and living space.
Our design involves removing a small existing single storey extension, and replacing it with a ‘wrap around’ part single and part two storey extension. This not only delivers the required extra bedroom and stylish ground floor living space, but also improves the appearance of the house from the rear garden.

Together with a more general renovation of the dwelling, the extension will transform it into a stunning family home. Our client is going to project manage the build himself, and we look forward with anticipation to seeing the project when completed later this year.

Successful Bid for CIF Funding!

Friday, April 6th, 2018

On the last day of term, one of our academy clients received excellent news: Government funding has been granted for the construction of two permanent build new classrooms. These will replace an aging 2-class modular unit, and will form part of a large site development project which is currently under construction.

One of the services we offer is the preparation of CIF (Condition Improvement Fund) bids for academies and sixth form colleges for capital works. Bids can be made for projects such as new roofing, heating systems, windows and doors, and also for capital projects such as replacement or refurbishment of classrooms.

Bids to the Condition Improvement Fund are always over-subscribed and the priority is to address significant condition need, and particularly to maintain safe and healthy school sites. A strong case has to be made to the Education & Skills Funding Agency to guarantee success.

The next round of CIF bid funding for 2019/20 projects should take place this autumn, but we can offer advice on how we can assist with your bid year round. If you are an academy or sixth form college, please get in touch for further information.

Construction Begins at Henlow Academy

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

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.

New Pre-School Holds Official Opening

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

IMG_4712Parents 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.”

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Development at Henlow Academy Given Green Light

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Henlow Academy LogoFollowing 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.