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.
A property in Buckinghamshire has been transformed recently by conversion from an uninspiring dormer bungalow into an impressive spacious family home.
Our clients contacted us after purchasing a house in a good village location, but in need of substantial improvement and refurbishment. The house had already been extended at the back, so instead of extending outwards we recommended raising the roof by one metre; our design allowed the awkward rooms in the roof space to be brought back into use as light and spacious bedrooms, with the added feature of an attractive landing and oak staircase.
By designing this modest upwards extension, we minimised the impact on neighbouring properties, and avoided the need to ‘nibble’ into the garden or drive.
The property has been reconfigured downstairs too; there are new bathrooms throughout, a refitted kitchen / breakfast room, separate utility room and study, and the exterior has a more modern sleek look with rendered walls and aluminium windows. Everyone is delighted with the transformation.
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.
Denbigh High School is well known throughout Luton; originally constructed in the 1930s, it has an impressive façade making it a local landmark.
The main entrance, however, was in need of modernising. We produced a design for the internal spaces that included installation of a new reception counter, refurbishment and extension of the main office, introduction of a new door opening for the head teacher’s PA and the creation of a dramatic modern entrance hall with tall glazed double doors and archway above.
The original entrance had distinctive dark timber antique panelling throughout. During the project, the contractor’s carpenters painstakingly removed, adapted and reinstalled the panelling in the refurbished corridor
The result is an impressive entrance hall in which to greet visitors, and improved office work spaces for staff. Staff at Denbigh, which is consistently rated ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED, are delighted with the alterations.
Good progress has been made this summer on a residential construction project in the Buckinghamshire village of Haddenham – just down the road from our office.
Our clients had aspirations to change the internal living spaces of their home, and also felt that the style of the house was dated. They asked for our advice and suggestions for making wholescale improvements. After some concept work, we were able to suggest raising the roof by one metre to create a spacious first floor to accommodate three new double bedrooms. Dormer windows help to provide natural light to the upper storey. The ground floor will also be transformed with wide bi-fold doors in the rear elevation, and a large kitchen/dining room to the front.
The build, which has been undertaken by local construction firm Eclipse Building Contracts Ltd, is now well over half way and the impression of a spacious dwelling with a more modern appearance is already evident.
We are very pleased to have secured Householder Planning Permission from Aylesbury Vale District Council for extensive alterations to a bungalow. Based in the rural hamlet of Easington, the dwelling sits in a prominent position with stunning views over the Vale of Aylesbury.
Our client had aspirations to substantially improve the internal spaces, and in particular to add a first floor to the dwelling. This will create space for 3 bedrooms, an en-suite and a family bathroom, and allow the ground floor to be reconfigured to create larger and more practical rooms and living spaces. Some of the internal walls will be removed to create a large lounge / hallway area with a new set of stairs leading up to the first floor.
Plans also detail a substantial revamp of the external appearance to include a pale rendered finish on the central section and two timber clad ‘wings’. New dormer windows enhance the attractive design.
It is hoped that construction work on the project will start shortly.
We are delighted this week to receive word that Aylesbury Vale District Council has granted both planning permission and listed building consent for a barn conversion project in the rural village of Ickford, Buckinghamshire.
It’s thought that the red brick agricultural storage building dates back to the Victorian era. Various alterations have been made over the years, including the addition of stables to one elevation and the construction of a garage alongside. Our client sought permission to convert the barn, which is located both within a conservation area and also within the curtilage of a Grade II Listed house, into a 3-bedroom dwelling.
Our design proposal went through a number of enhancements in order to comply with planning policy, and has now been given the green light for conversion. In addition to the bedrooms, two of which are on mezzanine floors, there will be a kitchen, dining area, study, living room and family bathroom. Our client is looking forward to starting construction works soon.
PCMS Design has recently been involved in an interesting pub-based project in the Iffley Fields area of Oxford. The Chester is an old Edwardian building with lots of character and period detail, situated on a corner in terraced residential streets. The pub closed in the summer of 2012, but an enterprising developer took on the site, simultaneously gaining planning permission to renovate and extend the pub and also to construct a pair of semi-detached houses in the car park.
Following extensive refurbishment work and also the demolition of the old kitchen and its reconstruction on a different footprint, the pub has now re-opened. Our role was to discharge a number of planning conditions, procure suitable local builders and also to provide project management and CDM services during the renovation. The build involved a collaborative effort between the developer, builder, pub tenant and ourselves.
The new tenants have an innovative approach to running the pub, which provides a meeting place for the local community during the day, incorporating a café and corner shop stocking local produce. Then in the evenings and at weekends, The Chester transforms into a pub serving a lively and eclectic menu and real ales. The interiors are modern and welcoming.
We wish the new owner and tenants every success for the future.
A Buckinghamshire family was delighted recently to be granted planning consent for extension works to their picturesque thatched home.
Cherry Tree Cottage is a charming house with lots of character. The property has been extended substantially over the years, and the thatched roofs have been maintained across the whole property. Eyebrow dormers over some of the first floor windows add to the quirky and distinctive appearance.
The family’s aspirations included the creation of a porch entrance and boot room and also a total refurbishment and enlargement of their kitchen. Our challenge was to design an extension that not only delivered the desired space on the inside, but also blended harmoniously with the rear gables on the outside. Rather than just enlarging the kitchen, we recommended a two-storey rear extension which would also allow for a bigger bedroom on the first floor. In this way, the appearance of the rear elevation would be enhanced, and not spoiled by a single storey flat roof extension.
A modest single storey side extension was also designed to provide space for the new entrance and boot room.
Following the successful application for planning permission, the family are now very pleased to be able to get on with their improvement project: “We knew what improvements we wanted but were not sure how to achieve them. PCMS Design listened carefully to our plans, and suggested some realistic and workable ideas for extending our home. The application for planning permission went very smoothly and we are looking forward to getting the build underway.”
Sometimes buildings have to be adapted to meet the particular needs of the occupants. One Bedfordshire school had a requirement to provide special facilities for a disabled child, which needed to include a shower, changing table and separate DDA WC.
Fortunately, PCMS Design staff have specialist knowledge in this area, and therefore were able to design a facility to meet the latest standards as set down in Disability Discrimination legislation. The layout and specification of the new facility complies with Building control and the relevant British Standard.
An area of the existing building was earmarked to provide the facilities, and work was largely carried out when the school was closed to minimise disruption. The School now has a dedicated changing and shower wetroom, which has a wipe-clean printed vinyl wallcovering in a bright colour and capped and coved vinyl floorcovering.