Yearly Archives: 2019

How to beat the planners!

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

So you would like to extend… but in three directions?

A “one size fits all” single planning application may not necessarily be the most effective way of obtaining the necessary consents. It could be refused, so a combined approach incorporating separate applications for Permitted Development works (obtaining a Lawful Development Certificate) as well as submitting Householder Planning Application(s) may be the most appropriate way.

Planning legislation accords different rules in respect of different types of extensions, dependant on whether they are proposed at the front, side or rear of your property. Other relevant factors include whether your home is detached, semi-detached or otherwise linked to neighbouring properties and also whether previous extensions have been constructed by either yourself or previous occupants.

A combined approach involving three separate applications was deemed most appropriate for a detached property in rural Buckinghamshire. The homeowner wished to apply for consent for three distinct and separate extensions to their property, and PCMS Design reviewed these in the context of current planning legislation to propose a planning strategy encompassing sequential applications for each extension.

The first extension, a two-storey side extension was secured using a Householder Planning application. A second application for a Lawful Development Certificate for a rear, single-storey kitchen extension was submitted citing relevant justification, and consent was duly granted. A third application, this time using a Householder Planning application for a generous porch extension, was submitted.

The end result is a consent for a significant increase in living space, that would not have been approved had it formed the basis of a single application. The homeowner is delighted. If you would like advice on how to maximise the potential of your property, PCMS Design can help.

White Lion Pub one step closer to re-opening!

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Halfway between Wendover and Tring, the White Lion Public House in St Leonards is a building with history. The heart of the building dates back to the 17th century with additions made later. It has stunning views and was in operation until a few years ago.

Following a campaign (by the ‘Save the White Lion’ group) which successfully prevented the pub from being converted to a house, the property was purchased with the plan to restore the pub to its former glory.

PCMS Design helped secure planning consent for an enlarged trading area, along with the necessary repairs to the roof and building structure. This was no easy task with six listed Building Consents required, along with the services of a historic building consultant, a structural engineer as well as specialist timber treatment and restoration contractors.

The works were then priced by three building firms, including two local contractors. After some deliberation, the contract has been awarded to J.E.T Construction (Milton Keynes) Ltd. and works are due to start in late September.

“It is a significant step to have appointed builders and PCMS Design deserve credit for sorting the planning, specification and procurement” said owner Mandy Grimwood. “Their professionalism and attention to detail is commendable and I’m looking forward to opening in summer next year” she added.

Works completed at St. Ebbe’s Church Oxford

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

St. Ebbe’s Church in central Oxford are delighted to have their expanded and refurbished kitchen project completed over the summer break.

In a short contract period, contractors stripped out well-used and time-expired equipment, took out walls, formed new openings, re-ran services and then installed over £30,000 worth of kitchen equipment.

Catering Manager Phoebe Gibson-Watt said “We have a busy programme of worship, meetings and study to support and we are very grateful to everyone who has helped deliver this project.”

PCMS Design undertook the design, specification and project management, working with specialist kitchen equipment suppliers PCD Ltd. and building contractors J.E.T Construction (Milton Keynes) Ltd.

“By separating the dishwashing function (to a separate room opposite the kitchen), we have significantly increased the capacity of the kitchen and provided a safer and more enjoyable environment for our staff and volunteers.” continued Phoebe.

Expansion at Henlow Academy

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Following the consultation by Henlow Academy about their proposal to extend the age range to a single phase extended secondary provision for 2020-21, PCMS Design is delighted to have been appointed to design and specify the buildings necessary to facilitate the transformation from a middle school.

The first phase of the school transformation will be to build a new two-storey classroom block (including modern science laboratories and SEN Group Rooms) and convert the old gym into a multi-functional dining space.

Though there are further approvals still to be secured, the school and the local authority have identified the need to seek planning consent for the initial phase of the project.

Business Manager Mandy Salzen said: “We are pleased to be continuing to work with PCMS Design and the wider consultant team on the transformation project for Henlow Church of England Academy. We are planning to provide capacity and choice for local families as well as enabling the school to deliver high quality education up to GCSE.”

Planning granted for extension of house in Quainton

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

We are pleased that Aylesbury Vale District Council has granted permission to modernise a 20th century house in the middle of the village of Quainton with its eclectic mix of older cottages and houses interspersed with a few dwellings of more recent construction.

The owners aspire to improve the layout and use of space within the dwelling by carrying out a reconfiguration of some of the ground and first floor rooms which will in turn create a larger, open-plan kitchen/dining space with ready access to the rear garden.

The dated conservatory will be demolished and replaced with a two storey rear extension offering more useful living space. The family home will benefit from a new play room to the ground floor and a new master bedroom on the first floor.

The planned improvements will also enhance the appearance of the front elevation, particularly bearing in mind its location within the Quainton Conservation Area.

Overall the planned changes will modernise this lovely family home and provide much needed space.


Lord Williams’s School unveil new playing shirts!

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Headteacher David Wybron and head of PE Richard Beerling unveiled new rugby playing shirts today. The outstanding Oxfordshire school are proud of their heritage and place some importance on team sports including Rugby.

PCMS Design are proud to have sponsored the newly-delivered shirts and look forward to them being put to good use in the new season.

Project Manager Alex Bond said: “We’re delighted to support rugby at Lord Williams’s School in our small way. Promoting health and fitness through a team sport like rugby is a benefit for everyone”.



Fabulous new open-plan kitchen and guest annexe finished

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019


Amazing alteration works have been completed by a local builder to a 1970s house in Towersey, Oxfordshire. Internal walls subdividing a number of previous, linked extensions were removed within the house to provide a light, bright and enlarged open-plan kitchen / family room overlooking the garden.

In addition, a new utility room has been created in an under-utilised space at the rear of the garage and a substantial outbuilding has been converted into an accessible guest annexe with en-suite shower room.

PCMS Design undertook the design work, secured planning permission for the homeowners. The construction drawings and specification of work were then prepared before overseeing the builders for the phased project.

The homeowners are delighted with the end result and have been fully involved in the process, including sourcing sustainable bamboo flooring which looks fabulous.

PCMS Design welcomes new Administrator Caren Schulze

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

We are very pleased this month to say welcome to our new colleague Caren Schulze who joins the PCMS Design team as Administrator.

Caren has worked in various industries from banking to manufacturing and brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge.

“I am delighted to be joining PCMS Design and look forward to getting involved in all aspects of the business.”



Completion of Kitchen Refurbishment

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Sometimes even smaller jobs require careful management, and that was the case when the local youth centre was seeking to refurbish and upgrade its kitchen. We were brought in to provide designs and a specification for bringing the kitchen up to current Building Regulation standards; part of this involved installing a new fire shutter, and also the complete removal and safe disposal of an asbestos Artex ceiling.

For the youth centre trustees, it was important to keep disruption to a minimum so that regular hirers could continue to use the centre. Careful management of the contractors working on site to carry out the building improvement and kitchen installation works was key, and any issues or questions were swiftly dealt with.

Funded by a grant from the Aylesbury Vale District Council New Homes Bonus, the youth centre’s kitchen is now fully operational again. Feedback so far from hirers and organisers has been very positive.