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.
Popular middle school Henlow Academy in Bedfordshire is looking to provide additional pupil places in the near future, and came to us to prepare a design and specification for an exciting site development.
A planning application has just been submitted to Central Bedfordshire Council for a new four-court sports hall with associated changing rooms and a six classroom, two-storey block. The sports hall will allow the Academy to substantially expand the range of sports on offer, particularly during the colder months, and will be a valuable addition to the local community because it will be available for sports teams and clubs to hire outside school hours.
As the Academy will be have a temporary increase in pupils over the next 3-4 years extra classroom space is required, and our design incorporates the latest in classroom technology such as interactive white boards, wi-fi connectivity and automatic light and CO2 sensors.
A considerable amount of consultation was carried out before submission of the application in order to iron out any potential design issues in advance.
We are hopeful for planning approval in September.
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.
Planning permission has just been granted this week for a new free-standing community classroom block on the site of Hatfield Community Free School.
School staff appointed PCMS Design when realised they needed a building close to existing playing fields to serve as additional classroom space, and also to provide some shelter and changing areas for the adjacent pitches. Our feasibility process identified a suitable site, a concept design was approved, and we negotiated with the Planning Department at Welwyn Hatfield District Council to iron out a number of planning issues prior to permission being granted.
Care has been taken to design a building which reflects that of the existing school, which was constructed 5 years ago. The wish is to proceed with construction as quickly as possible, in order to provide much needed classroom space.
For the third year running, PCMS Design has achieved the status of ‘Accredited Planning Agent’ with Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC). This scheme has been created by the Council to recognise continued regular compliance with planning regulations, and also adherence to CBC’s standard Development Management guidelines when submitting planning applications.
To qualify, all applications must be submitted in an accurate and timely manner, with the relevant amount of detail and the correct accompanying information.
Staff from PCMS Design regularly attend planning seminars and consultation sessions at the Council offices, and also have a good working relationship with officers from the local authority. We look forward to this continuing over the forthcoming months, as there are a number of planning applications in preparation for submission.
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.
A residential client was recently very pleased to receive planning permission for a new storage barn from Aylesbury Vale District Council. Our client was seeking to demolish an existing old and dilapidated storage barn at the front of their property, close to the roadside, and replace it with a very similar structure to be used as a workshop and also for storage.
Their property is a Grade II listed cottage which is also within a Conservation Area, and so a compelling case had to be made to the local planning authority to demolish what was already there. Our case was aided by the design of the replacement building, which has an enlarged footprint, but also took great care to replicate the style and appearance of the existing ‘rustic’ structure.
Our design met the requirements of the Council’s heritage officer, and planning permission together with Listed Building Consent was granted. Our client is now intending to start works on the new building this Spring.
We were delighted last week to hear that planning permission has been granted by Bedford Borough Council for a new two classroom modular unit to be located within the grounds of Shortstown Primary School. This School serves a community just to the south east of Bedford. A growth in pupil numbers has resulted in a shortfall of teaching space, and so the modular unit will be used to boost the number of classrooms available.
Our bespoke design created a simple form and layout for the unit, which has a footprint of just under 200m2. There are centrally located facilities, including a separate room for smaller teaching groups or meetings and WCs. The appearance will be enhanced with horizontal natural cedar cladding.
School staff are really pleased with the positive planning outcome, and are presently engaged in finding a contractor to construct and install the bespoke unit which will be ready for occupation this Spring.
A residential client recently sought help with construction of a new barn at their home in the heart of the Chilterns. There were already a couple of old timber shed structures in the paddock, but the aspiration was for a new attractive building that could not only act as a stable but also provide storage for garden machinery.
Because the property is within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty planning consent was required. We were pleased to secure planning permission for the barn design, and we then went on to project manage the build for our client. The building is future-proof, meaning that methods of construction could allow the structure to be put to alternative uses if so desired in the future.
The result is an attractive new barn / stable block in a style sympathetic to the local Chilterns setting. Our client is delighted: “This is the second construction project that PCMS Design has designed and managed for us, and we are very pleased with the result.”
This year has seen the completion of a number of site development projects at Denbigh High School in Luton, four of which we have been involved with. The latest to reach completion is the construction of an extension at the rear of the main school building to provide a larger area for the Chiltern Learning Trust administration team.
There were a number of technical challenges to overcome in order to extend out from the existing two-storey building, which dates from the 1930s and has distinctive windows, some of them arched. We therefore designed a flat-roof extension including windows with glazing bars which harmonise with those around it. We obtained planning permission and building control approval for the new block and project managed the build.
Inside, there is a new open-plan office for staff, together with three separate office and meeting rooms, new toilets and a delivery room, all of which meet the aspirations of the Trust’s expanding administration team. This is part of a longer-term aim to establish a central hub for the Trust in order to rationalise support services.