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.
An office extension has just been completed at Ashridge Estate near Tring for our client The National Trust. The estate office is a busy hub for rangers, volunteers and managers engaged in taking care of estate which includes over 5,000 acres of woodlands. Our role was to design an extension for the timber framed building, apply for planning consent and produce the technical specification and construction drawings. We also took care of contract administration during the build.
A biomass boiler to provide heating and hot water was installed as part of the extension project, and the fuel will be supplied from the woodland which surrounds the estate. New offices, a team room and a changing area have all been provided, and staff can also enjoy an external decking area in the warmer months.
As the estate office is constantly in use – including at weekends – the improvements are being already appreciated by staff.
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.
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.
Haddenham Library in Buckinghamshire is situated within the heart of a rapidly growing village community. In seeking to expand the range of services that can be offered to local people, the Library Management Committee approached us to work on plans for a new extension to allow a meeting room and more social space to be created.
Our design follows the original layout and appearance of the single storey building and provides ancillary facilities such as a new DDA WC and extra storage.
We administered the planning application process with Aylesbury Vale District Council which granted permission last month. Following this success, the Library Committee is now considering their next steps, including ways of fund-raising in order to fulfil their aspirations for the building. We will be on hand to advise if they decide to move on to the next stage of the project.
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.