Departure case made in Lincolnshire village
South Kesteven District Council has given Listed Building Consent for the refurbishment of a Grade II Listed building together with the development of two new bungalows on nearby land in the village of Claypole, near Newark after two years work by Beacon Planning.
Working on behalf of the trustees of a will, Beacon Planning had to prove the case for the application at a time when the local authority was in the process of adopting the core strategy of its local development framework (LDF) which included a presumption against any new development in Claypole – even though the planning and conservation officers were supportive of Beacon's proposals.
In arguing for the application to be considered as a departure from the policy which - given Newark's proximity - saw development in the village as an unsustainable settlement, Beacon referenced the site's location at the centre of the village's established settlement which is served by a regular bus service, a public house and a primary school.
The village setting was also reflected in the red brick and pantile design of the two new bungalows by architects Bland Brown & Cole.
Eventually, approval was granted last month (November) after being advertised as a departure with the view that, given its central location, the development would not have a detrimental impact.
The site is being marketed for sale by Newark agents Richard Watkinson & Partners.
12th Century church with 21st Century needs
Plans to provide 21st Century facilities to meet the needs of the growing congregation of a 12th Century church in Essex have called upon the conservation expertise of Beacon Planning.
Working on behalf of the Parochial Church Council in the village of Felsted, near Great Dunmow and in conjunction with architects Freeland Rees Roberts - who submitted the planning application to Uttlesford District Council last month (November) - Beacon Planning acted as the heritage consultants on the proposals to build a extension to the church to provide new meeting and group assembly space with associated facilities.
Felsted Church is Grade I Listed and has a distinctive, square, Norman tower. Felsted village is chronicled in the Domesday Book and while the building dates back to 1120 AD, it is thought that, as a place of worship, the site itself dates back to Roman times.
Beacon Planning was appointed in July this year to work with architect Freeland Rees Roberts on the planning application.
Acting as heritage consultants, Beacon assessed the significance of the building and its setting and reviewed the impact of the proposed work and possible alternatives in considering the planning implications of the proposed extension.
The location for the extension is to the north of the church and is within churchyard grounds which are screened by an avenue of trees and - importantly from a heritage planning aspect - will not affect any of the important views of the landmark, Norman west tower.
The planning application is scheduled for consideration by the district council either later this year or early next year.
If approved, the Parochial Church Council is looking to have work start on site in the summer with the new facilities set to be used by the congregation by the beginning of 2012.
Vineyard permission gives taste of success
Beacon Planning has worked with Snell David Architects to secure permission for the expansion of a family-run wine growing business which was granted by Braintree District Council, against officer recommendation, this month.
Permission was granted for a visitor centre and family farmhouse to Jane and Stephen Mohan who run Coggleshall Vineyard. While vines have been grown on the site since the late 1970s, Jane and Stephen want to develop and grow the business into a centre to promote English wine with an emphasis on East Anglian viticulture.
Plans for the visitor centre include a cellar which will host wine-tasting sessions, a retail set-up to include a shop, restaurant and café and function room for specialist talks.
Crucial to the plans for development was permission for a new farmhouse for the family. This will be located on unproductive land to the west of the site. The new farmhouse will be set around a courtyard with equipment store and a wing with an office and also guest accommodation for visiting lecturers and vineyard workers.
All the new buildings have been designed by Snell David Architects working in conjunction with leading manufacturer of energy efficient building systems, Baufritz. Energy saving features include domestic rainwater harvesting, solar energy panels, a design to maximise natural light and ventilation and high levels of insulation.
Both the visitor centre and the farmhouse with have timber cladding and boarding with a zinc roof.
The council officers' concerns about the plans in a designated Special Landscape Area focused on the size of the new dwelling but were overcome by Beacon Planning who, successfully, argued the connection between the vineyard business and the new home because there was a need for the owners, with a young family, to live on-site.
In granting permission, the planning committee of Braintree District Council accepted that the new business and retail amenity would prove both local employment for Coggleshall and be an additional visitor attraction to the town.
Continuity counts for Cambridge's Parkside fire station development
Continuity in a complex project and specialist planning expertise from Beacon Planning both played an important part in securing consent for Cambridge's new fire station and mixed use development at Parkside - on which work is due to begin on-site next spring (2011).
Beacon Planning was appointed by Grosvenor Developments in December last year (2009) to secure planning permission to amend the previously consented scheme but this was not the first of the firm's input in to the project.
Beacon had already worked on the Parkside development proposals as heritage consultants, advising the developer on specific aspects of working within a formally defined conservation area adjacent to Cambridge's historic Parker's Piece.
Directors Andy Thompson and Jon Burgess were also involved in securing the original planning permission in May 2007, following a successful public inquiry and before forming Beacon Planning the following year (2008).
In order to have the time to modify the proposed scheme and address points of possible objection, Beacon Planning negotiated the extension of the time limits of the planning permission and obtained the relevant specialist permissions - conservation area consent – from the City Council in June this year (2010).
The revised proposals, designed by Glenn Howells Architects, improved the development by modifications to the residential element which included reducing the number of apartments, increasing their size and revising internal layouts and introducing some 3-bedroom properties.
The revised scheme will comprise a new fire station, 99 apartments and a retail unit.
In tandem with work on the application for the new fire station, Beacon Planning also secured permission for temporary relocation of the fire station to Coldham's Lane in the city while the Parkside site is redeveloped.
* Image courtesy of (c) Glenn Howells Architects
Plans approved for historic inn
Beacon Planning has secured a succession of planning permissions for major extension and refurbishment to an historic Cambridgeshire hotel and inn.
While Phase 1 plans to build a new 73-bedroom hotel adjacent to The Red Lion Hotel at Whittlesford Bridge –off the main A505 road - got the go-ahead in 2008, the latest permissions secured by Beacon Planning's heritage and conservation specialists, centre around the extension and refurbishment of the existing Listed building to provide improved dining and conference facilities.
The Red Lion Hotel dates back to the 13th Century when it was founded as a priory. Down the centuries it was used by travellers as a rest inn and in the 17th Century King James I granted the inn a licence for the sale of wines after taking refuge there on falling ill en route from Newmarket.
Listed Building status means that Beacon Planning had to negotiate specialist planning permissions whose conditions will restore to public view in the new coffee 'snug' some original 15th Century timbers and an inglenook fireplace that are currently concealed in the kitchen.
Permission was also secured for significant landscape improvements on the site which will enhance the setting of the adjacent Duxford Chapel - which is owned by English Heritage and also has listed building status as well as that of a scheduled ancient monument.
Work is due to start in the New Year with a view to opening in April 2011.
101 High Street Hinxton
After an initial unsuccessful application and appeal Beacon Planning Ltd have secured permission for a three bedroom new dwelling on this corner plot. The Planning Inspector fully supported the principle of development here but did not like the initial design. Snell David Architects were then appointed for the resubmission and produced a design which echoes the existing houses at 101-103 High Street and addresses both road frontages. Within the context of the Conservation Area and setting of Listed Buildings opposite the revised proposal has found support with South Cambridgeshire District Council.
Cambridge practices secure permission for change
Cambridge-based consultancies Beacon Planning and architects Bland Brown & Cole Architects have secured planning permission for a private client in the village of Sewards End near Saffron Walden, Essex.
Both consultancies worked in conjunction on a successful application to Uttlesford District Council for an extension to an existing cottage and a change of use from former agricultural land to domestic garden.
Technical aspects regarding a diversion to a public right of way are in the process of being resolved.
Planning for carol concert in Clare
The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge will be at Clare Parish Church in Suffolk on Saturday 11 December to present an evening concert of carols with harp and organ, sponsored by Beacon Planning.
The centrepiece of the evening will be Britten's 'A Ceremony of Carols' and the concert will raise money for the ongoing church restoration project.
Charmain Hawkins, who is a member of the parochial church council is also an associate of Beacon Planning and is one of the consultancy's conservation specialists.
The consultancy, itself, is working with Clare College on a number of current projects.
Admission to the concert is by ticket only.
Tickets are £7.00 each and are on sale from 30 October from the following locations: Clare Pharmacy, Well Lane, Clare, Landers Bookshop in Long Melford, Compact Music in Sudbury and Balaam's Music in Bury St Edmunds.
Understanding conservation wins appeal in Great Chesterford
Beacon Planning has successfully challenged, on appeal, Uttlesford District Council's original decision not to grant permission for a replacement dwelling in the village of Great Chesterford.
The original refusal by the local authority focused on the effect of the new property – located on High Street - on the nearby listed buildings in a conservation area and also on the effect on the neighbours' amenities.
In the appeal to the planning inspectorate, Beacon Planning made the planning case, with architect Stephen Mattick, for the replacement dwelling.
In granting permission on appeal in September (2010), the planning inspector concluded that the new property would preserve an appropriate setting of the site and referenced that 'the architectural quality of the dwelling proposed would be greater than the existing building'.
Beacon roles filled as workload increases
An increasing workload since the spring and a recruitment drive in the summer has resulted in two new appointments this autumn.
Joanna Burton (25) has joined to take up the newly created position of heritage consultant and Mariya Myronova (32) has been recruited as Beacon Planning's in-house graphic designer.
Joanna, who has a postgraduate degree from the University of Cambridge in Medieval History, joins from the Cambridge offices of English Heritage.
She has experience in planning and conservation matters and will work across the full range of Beacon Planning's work in this niche sector but will also be involved in the consultancy's expanding portfolio of urban design and development projects.
Mariya is a trained graphic designer and, most recently, has been working freelance on projects for Beacon Planning, although she has worked with directors – Andy Thompson and Jon Burgess – at their previous practice.
As well as working on support materials and graphics for planning tenders, submissions, appeals, applications and ongoing projects, Mariya will work on Beacon's marketing materials and will be in charge of the firm's website which is undergoing a transformation, currently.
PPS5 means business is booming for niche consultancy
PPS5 has led to a boom in business for heritage specialists Beacon Planning and the proposed public sector cuts leave consultancies in the conservation sector well-placed to increase workloads, say Beacon's directors.
The award-winning Beacon Planning has seen a significant increase in work since March this year (2010) - when PPS5 was published -with the number of live projects 30 per cent up in comparison with the equivalent period last year.
'By June, we had opened as many new projects as we did in the whole of 2009,' says Jon Burgess who also confirms that the consultancy is actively recruiting to cope with the workload.
He continues: 'PPS5 places the onus on the developer to demonstrate that they understand fully what is important about a building or site and so planners with direct experience in the heritage sector are in demand and will continue to prove their worth.'
According to Beacon directors Jon Burgess and Andy Thompson - both of whom have had local authority planning roles - demand for this niche expertise looks set to carry on growing if the threatened slashing of local authority budgets and those of other public sector bodies in the heritage and conservation sector are carried out.
Beacon sheds light on conservation areas
Specialist panning expertise from Beacon Planning has been called upon by a local authority in Essex to review and appraise its conservation areas.
Beacon Planning was appointed by Basildon District Council to undertake appraisals of three of the authority's four conservation areas as part of the Council's duty to assess and consult on the preservation and enhancement of conservation areas.
The consultancy also conducted the subsequent public consultation in October 2010 on behalf of the Council.
As a planning consultancy specialising in heritage and historic buildings and settings, Beacon Planning has a track record of work in this specialist field for a range of local authorities including South and East Cambridgeshire, Fenland District Council and Norwich City Council.
Currently, Beacon is also looking at a number of areas for Cambridge City Council.
Jenni Neilson, a senior consultant at Beacon Planning, explains:
'Designating a conservation area is an important tool in the management of the historic built environment.
'The more clearly and comprehensively the special nature of an area is defined and consulted upon, the better it will be valued and looked after by the local community and others with an interest in it.'
Fire Station revisited
Jon and Andy were involved in securing the original consent in 2007 and Beacon have been appointed by Grosvenor Developments Ltd to extend the life of the Planning Permission and Conservation Area Consent to redevelop Cambridge Fire Station and to agree a number of beneficial amendments. An application to extend the life of the current consent was lodged on 12 April.
Hertford Historic Building Assessment
Beacon have prepared a Historic Building Assessment to accompany a revised application for Listed Building Consent for the conversion of the existing first and second floor residential accommodation in Hertford to 4 separate units. The original application was refused because insufficient information had been produced to demonstrate that the proposed development could be achieved without harm to the historic fabric and the special interest of the listed building. Our report demonstrated that all features of architectural and historic interest could be retained, including the fireplaces (except the two modern ones at second floor) and all skirtings, cornices, picture rails, doors and windows wherever practically possible.
Home and office consent, Suffolk
Beacon have secured planning permission and listed building consent for the conversion of barns and outbuildings to a single dwelling house with ancillary residential annexe and associated office.
Although the site had consent for 3 holiday lets, the applicants wished to use the site as the base for their business with annexes for disabled family members. After extensive pre application negotiations, the Council accepted that the proposal would ensure the long term protection of the setting of a listed building and be an attractive complex of buildings in the rural landscape. The amended designs were considered by the Council’s Conservation Officer to be an improvement from the holiday let scheme.
‘All in the garden is rosy…’
A planning and Listed Building has been allowed for the retention of a formal garden at a Grade II Building near Linton, Cambridgeshire. The Council argued that the lack of garden was part of the character of the Listed Building and that its introduction was harmful to the informal nature of the parkland setting.
The Inspector agreed with our case and said ‘the small, relatively discrete area at the back of the house introduces an acceptable element of vitality which to my mind, enhances the setting of the Listed Building’.
He acknowledged the specialist advice on historic gardens obtained from Dr Twigs Way and concurred with the view that ‘the designer in this case has successfully used historic features, form and materials to link the architectural features of the house with the informal landscape in a way that is sensitive to the historic context’.
Masterplanning in Norfolk
Beacon have been appointed to develop a masterplan for a site on the outskirts of Norwich to help meet the housing and employment needs of the area. The site has been promoted through the Council’s LDF process for the past couple of years and received local support. Following the appointment of specialist consultants, a series of baseline surveys are underway to identify if there any major site constraints, and if so to put forward relevant mitigation measures.
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!
Following the receipt of a number of adverse comments from local societies, English Heritage and the Georgian Group, Beacon were appointed to prepare a Historic Building Assessment of a former Hotel in Cromer, Norfolk to support a proposal for a single storey extension, including infilling a vehicular archway.
A number of discussions were held with the officers of North Norfolk District Council and representatives of the Town Council and it became clear during these discussions that some of the concerns about the impact of the works on the listed building and conservation area were based on misunderstandings about the importance of the historic fabric or could be answered by providing further analysis of the buildings concerned.
Our report demonstrated that the new extensions will make the retail units far more attractive to good quality retailers and of a size not sufficiently well-represented by the current retail ‘offer’ in the town. This has obvious benefits to the long-term viability of the buildings and the vitality of the Cromer conservation area and town generally. The improved access to the flats will make them more convenient and secure, which again must be a benefit to their long-term viability.
Beacon commended by Royal Town Planning Institute
Beacon’s achievements have been recognised by the Royal Town Institute. Beacon were awarded a commendation in the ‘Small Planning Consultancy of the Year Award’ at the ceremony held at the Hilton on London’s Park Lane. Although naturally disappointed not to be named as the winner, we were delighted that our work was sufficiently highly regarded to be the only small consultancy to achieve a commendation in these prestigious awards
Housing and artist studio consent
Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent have been secured for the refurbishment of a group of buildings within the grounds of an historic Manor House and adjacent to the Grade II* Listed church. The permission will create two dwellings and artist studios. The proposals secure the long term future for these buildings. They have been identified in the Conservation Area Appraisal as being in need of enhancement. It is hoped that the project will be used by English Heritage as part of their ongoing research into energy conservation in historic buildings.
On 13 January 2010, Cambridge City Council’s Planning Committee finally granted planning permission and Conservation Area Consent for the demolition of this Victorian house at 13 Chesterton Road which was beyond structural repair and its replacement with a high quality apartment building containing 12 flats. Beacon Planning were the planning consultants for the scheme which was designed by the architect Scott Whight.
Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent has been granted for the first phase of refurbishment work to this Grade II* Listed 1960s Gonville and Caius College student accommodation building. Beacon Planning acted as planning and conservation consultants for the scheme and led the consultations with groups including the City Council, English Heritage and the Twentieth Century Society.
MILL LANE /OLD PRESS SITE, CAMBRIDGE
In 2009, Beacon Planning was appointed by Cambridge City Council and Cambridge University to carry out an independent assessment of the heritage assets within this historic riverside area in Cambridge. The report formed part of the evidence supporting the production of formal guidance encouraging the rejuvenation of the area. This Supplementary Planning Document was formally adopted by Cambridge City Council on 12 January 2010.