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.  

We are recruiting!

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

We have a vacancy for an office administrator to support our architectural design and project management practice. Projects are a varied mix of public sector and residential, ranging in scale from modest extensions to new buildings.

This role is term-time only, working 22.5 hours per week and would be arranged fit in with the school day. The working environment is collegiate and supportive. The role is office based in our open plan office. Work spaces are socially distanced.

The role requires good administrative skills in order to:

  • Prepare, submit and follow up planning & building regulations applications
  • Issue and collate tenders and quotations for building and other works
  • Deal with initial enquiries, arranging follow up calls or appointments as required
  • Support marketing efforts, including posting updates to the web
  • Help run the office, including weekly and monthly reporting

Some administrative experience is a must. Experience and/or an interest in building technology would be an advantage. This is a varied role for an all-rounder and includes some report writing and property / planning research. There is the opportunity to shape the role to suit your skills and experience.

To apply for this vacancy, please email your CV with a covering letter, explaining why you will be a good fit for this position and stating your salary expectations.

Part-time hours: 22.5 per week

Job Types: Part-time, Permanent

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.”