I would like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year and I hope you all had a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas break. However, if you are anything like me, it is all probably now a distant memory!
I wonder what 2013 has in store for us all? Well, we start the year with a couple of our projects commencing on site, a handful of new commissions and one of our projects soon to complete on site, with the usual flurry of completion inspections and photographs that ensue. I will post further details in later blogs.
In the meantime, two commissions that we are particularly excited about are the conversion of a Grade 2 Listed former public house and a residential development of a sub-urban site. Both projects have required extensive pre-application discussions with the local authority as neither are straightforward, a prerequisite you may recall from our earlier post ‘Want planning success? Then plan for success‘, in which we suggested that pre-application submissions should be reserved for listed buildings or tricky sites.
The first project, illustrated in the image above, is for the conversion of The Kings Head, a Grade 2 listed former public house, situated in Hastings Old Town. The building was originally constructed in the 1500s although it has been modified extensively since then, with later additions being constructed as new landlords took over the running of the public house. Our commission is to propose a conversion which respects the listed fabric and which sensitively inserts modern fabric to provide two apartments, a new house and retail space that meets modern-day standards. We started the process with a pre-application submission to obtain the views of the conservation officer and, having received very positive comments, we have now moved onto preparing the planning and listed building applications.
The second project is for the development of a sub-urban site, adjacent to ancient woodland and established homes in the Ponds Wood area of St Leonards-on-Sea.
Our commission for this project has followed a similar route to that of The Kings Head project in that we were asked to advise on the appropriate level of development and to obtain the views of the planners via a pre-application submission. The site has a history of planning process which attracted negative interest from the locals due to the previous applications not taking account of the unique setting and relationship with neighbouring buildings and woodland.
Our starting point for this project was not the number of houses we could fit onto the site but to consider the setting and the ‘ingredients’ of the site and to propose how these could work with and enhance the development proposals. As an example, the sketch below illustrates the provision of an ‘ecotone’ or transition area between the development site to the south and a site proposed as natural parkland to the north. Following this approach enables us to provide natural habitats for reptiles and mammals that currently occupy the site in addition to providing a natural setting for the new homes.
The natural setting is further illustrated in the sketch site plan below. The houses are oriented north-south and have long views towards the ancient woodland to the north, across an area of lawn which we see as an extension to the private gardens of the new residents and which will be used for play and social gathering.
I hope you have enjoyed the brief introduction of two of our current projects and look forward to providing you with updates as the projects progress.