Category Archives: Uncategorized

PCMS Design Relocates!

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

PCMS Design is pleased to announce that we have recently relocated! We’ve moved our office premises by only a few miles from Haddenham to Long Crendon, a nearby Buckinghamshire village. Our new office is in a lovely, totally self-contained building located within a farm complex, situated on the rural edge of the village. We now have tractors rumbling down the driveway, the sound of cattle in the distance and hares hopping past the window! We’ve all been impressed by the views, which extend across open farmland and countryside towards the Chiltern Hills.

New office in Long Crendon

Our working environment is certainly more harmonious and peaceful, and we’re trusting that the office move will provide inspiration for ever more creative architectural designs! If you have a home, educational, community or commercial project that would benefit from architectural advice or project management, then do get in touch for a no obligation chat. We are happy to work throughout rural (and urban) Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Gloucestershire and beyond …

Our new address: The Barn, College Farm, Chearsley Road, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire HP18 9AP

Other contact details are the same – Tel: 01844 202932  Email:

Improvements to Social Housing

Friday, April 8th, 2022

Our latest project for Thame & District Housing Association – a two storey side extension and refurbishment of two flats – is due to start on site in mid-April. Planning permission was sought and granted by Buckinghamshire Council for improvements to the one bedroom flats at Anstey Court in Waddesdon.

Flats to be improved at Anstey Court in Waddesdon

The existing stairs to the first floor accommodation pose accessibility issues, as they’re too steep to meet the latest building regulations: our solution was to design an extension to the side of the building to house a new wider staircase and entrance door, so that it’s more suitable for elderly residents.

Because of the siting of the building there was only one option for the extension, and it meant that the internal layout of the First Floor flat would be changed to accommodate the new entrance. The Ground Floor flat will receive full redecoration.

Our administration of the procurement process lead to Skyline Development & Construction being appointed to carry out the building works, and we are looking forward to working with them on this social housing improvement project.

New Haddenham Parish Council Offices

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

We were very pleased last week to be invited to attend the forthcoming Haddenham Annual Parish Meeting, and particularly delighted this year because it will take place within the newly refurbished Parish Centre. Our recent project to improve the Parish Council offices at the Village Hall has transformed the space.

Haddenham has seen considerable development in recent years, with new homes, employment sites and leisure facilities all being constructed in the village.  Consequently, Parish Council activities were becoming ever-busier and the need for administration resourcing had increased. Staff had outgrown their under-sized office, and the entrance lacked a reception area making it unsuitable for accepting visitors; there had become an urgent need to improve it.

A former Day Centre within the village hall had been closed for some time; an outdated lounge area also had two large supporting pillars restricting the layout. We designed a reconfiguration and renovation of existing internal spaces to deliver rooms that will enable the Parish Council to continue operating effectively as the village expands. A re-utilisation of space is a cost-effective and environmentally sound way of achieving an objective like this; building materials are kept to a minimum, but structural alterations enable the building to be upgraded to a modern specification, and at the same time the opportunity is there to deliver more efficient heating, insulation, lighting and storage. At the same time, the dilapidated flat roof was repaired and the external facades of the whole building were decorated.

Staff and Parish Councillors have embraced the new Parish Centre, which includes a dedicated smart entrance doorway and reception hatch, and a conference room large enough to seat the whole Parish Council in comfort. Haddenham Parish Clerk Sue Gilbert commented: “Our smart Parish Centre is great to work in, and finally we have an office and meeting room which is fit for purpose. We are delighted with the transformation. We have worked together with PCMS Design on a number of feasibility and construction projects, and have always been delighted with the great service and support that we’ve received.”

New Haddenham Parish Council Meeting Room

Designing for Listed Buildings

Wednesday, February 9th, 2022

It’s always an interesting experience to take on a conservation project. This beautiful timber roof structure has been revealed during the renovation of a Grade II Listed house – previously a butcher’s shop – in the heart of a Buckinghamshire village. Works are now underway to carefully restore the timbers, and ensure the roof’s longevity.

Beautiful timber roof structure in listed building

This particular house is also being extended to the rear to provide a new first floor bedroom with en suite, and a larger kitchen beneath. We have successfully applied for Listed Building consent for a number of repairs to the structure, in addition to the extension.

Working on listed buildings with a long history behind them requires sensitive treatment and a detailed understanding of the processes involved. The extension and renovation of the White Lion pub in St Leonards combined a similar need for restoring the older part of the structure, whilst ensuring that the building could function as a profitable hospitality business.

Do get in touch if you would like advice on improving or extending a Listed Building.

Drilling a Borehole!

Thursday, February 3rd, 2022

Many organisations are seeking ways of both adapting to climate change and minimising their environmental impact. Chinnor Rugby Football Club in Thame has found a clever and cost effective method of irrigating their playing pitches – by digging a borehole.

This modern version of a well involves drilling a hole around 10m deep which is then cased in steel, and a borehole pumping system is attached to collect natural water and pump it to the surface. Water is extracted up to the daily allowed amount and stored in a metal storage tank until required. An added advantage of this irrigation method is that water naturally percolates through the soil for future use, forming part of a natural water lifecycle.

Following a procurement process to find a suitably qualified installer, we worked in conjunction with AW Synergy Boreholes to dig the borehole, and also contractor Agripower to construct the storage tank. The whole project required careful planning and project management which we were happy to provide.

South Oxfordshire District Council funded the project via Section 106 developer contributions.

Chinnor Rugby Football Club will shortly have access to a ready supply of natural water to irrigate its pitches, which not only saves money but significantly reduces the environmental impact of using potable mains water.

Latest Phase Completes at Henlow Academy

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

As part of Central Bedfordshire’s ‘Schools for the Future’ plan Henlow Academy is within the first cluster of Schools to change from a three tier system to a two tier system. This means that Henlow Academy is changing from a Middle to a Secondary School.

Our design for this latest phase of works involved a two storey extension to the existing sports hall and classroom block. The extension was designed to mirror the sports hall with a curved standing seam zinc roof, and sections of the building were rendered to break up the mass of the building. The siting of the extension created a courtyard area which gave the opportunity to explore different finishes, and create social spaces for staff and students.

The extension incorporates four science labs, five classrooms and a lift, giving access to all. Wide corridors and views of the courtyard create light and space, matched with the brightly coloured walls and lockers throughout. All classrooms and specialist teaching rooms are designed to Department for Education Building Bulletin 103.

In the existing building, a dull and drab old gym was converted to a vibrant theatre/dining space with the introduction of four new vertical windows with coloured glass, and two high level horizontal windows. In addition, a retractable tiered seating system was installed along with fold away pocketwall dining hall tables and benches.

Two existing Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs) were consolidated to make one new space, primarily for hockey use, and this facility can now be hired by the local community.

New Offices for Haddenham Parish Council

Friday, March 26th, 2021

Works have completed at the former Day Centre located within the Banks Park Village Hall complex. Work included providing a new sensible sized Office for the Parish Council to work from, as well as additional spaces such as a dedicated meeting room, a larger conference space which can be hired by the public, a welcoming reception area, and new WCs including DDA (access). Overdue maintenance work was also carried out throughout the building including general repairs, roof refurbishments and adding fire breaks within the roof space.

The project also involved some external works to create a new vibrant entrance which gives the Parish Council a central presence within the Banks Park Complex.

The works were partly funded by Aylesbury Vale District Council through their New Homes Bonus scheme alongside Parish Council Funds.

“We’ve been supporting this project since its inception and it is very satisfying to see it to completion” said project manager Helena Cox. “Added to that, the Parish Council are delighted with the end result.”

Planning Permission Approved

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

Planning permission has been approved for a new £1.8m Standalone Classroom Block at Raynsford Academy, Henlow. The new building will enable Raynsford’s transition from a Lower school to a Primary school as part of Central Bedfordshire’s Schools for the Future programme.

The building will provide additional classrooms, with ancillary accommodation including studio/multi agency, SEND meeting and a multi-purpose specialist teaching space for smaller groups. In addition a Multi-Use Games Area, that will also be available for community use, is being provided as well as number of off-site highways improvements.

Careful consideration was made in terms of the design of the building and its siting within a semi-rural/residential area. The mass of the building has been minimalised by the use of the four sloping roofs and a lower central corridor flat roof reinforcing the visual separation. The form is essentially a cube shape that has been broken up  with the recessed and projecting wall elements along with the use of materials to define those areas.

The school were very keen to minimise the energy use for the new building. This has been achieved with the design of Ground Source Heat Pumps, solar panels which are to be sited on the main school building, grey water recycling and, for bio-diversity, a green sedum roof to the four main sloping elements of the building.

“We set about to help Raynsford Academy create a sustainable building – in line with the council’s sustainability strategy – and securing planning consent is an important milestone” said project manager Alex Bond. “The aim is now, with the help of building contractors, to deliver the finished article ready for the school’s new year 5 class this year.”

Works are due to start in March 2021.

Work is well underway at Henlow Academy

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

The exciting further phase of work in the transition of Henlow Academy from a Middle School to a Secondary School is well underway.

The project is the next phase of the Master Plan and is a further extension to the new Sports Hall and Classroom Block that was completed in 2018. The extension will proved four new state of the art Science Labs, five additional classrooms and SEN Group room spaces. The extension has been designed to reflect the form of the Sports Hall, the mass has been broken up with the addition of the rendered elements. The project also includes works to the former gym to create a new drama/dining space, with the introduction of large vertical windows to bring in natural light, with new lighting and retractable seating it will transform the space.

Works are due to be completed and the end of July 2021 ready for the start of the new year where the school will take their first year 9.

Work completes at White Lion Public House

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

Featuring a copper bar top, reclaimed oak beams and modern lighting this historic building has been brought up to standard ready for business. Though the pub’s opening will be delayed due to the lockdown, the building has been given a new lease of life.

The building’s Jacobean origins date back as far as the 17th century, with late Georgian and Victorian additions. In recent times, an application to turn the building into a dwelling was refused planning following a local “Save the White Lion” campaign. This prompted a rethink and PCMS Design helped the new owners to secure planning and listed building consent for an extension to the trading area as well as an overhaul of the building itself.

The failing roof structure has been strengthened, whilst leaving the original rafters in place. Timber repairs have been carried out to the original wall plate, as well as a feature wall which was originally the end of the building. A modern bathroom has been fitted and the first floor is a characterful, self-contained flat for the publican.

The pub itself boasts a modern beer cellar, new WCs including an accessible toilet and a fully fitted commercial kitchen. The trading area has been extended with access to the beer garden with its fantastic views. The original charm of the pub has been retained, with the large inglenook fireplace, built-in bench seating, low ceilings and exposed beams all giving a very homely feel.   

Nestled in the Chilterns, with good access for walkers, cyclists and riders, the White Lion will undoubtedly become a destination of choice for many when it opens.