Blending a new build garage and updating a house in a sensitive location
The village of Thakeham boasts one pub, one church and 300 houses. It is a beautiful historic village, with a strict conservation area, and an eagle-eyed Parish council that watches every new development closely, so introducing a new build right next to the 500 year old pub was always going to come with strictures.
Even though this Sussex-style house was only built in the late 20th Century, its location means it is subject to all the same strictures as if it were the 16th Century pub, which happens to be next door. So every element of change, from adding on a new porch, to replacing uPVC windows with aluminium has to meet strict conservation criteria. As it turned out the Council's conservation officer at the time took her role as custodian very seriously, so adding on a new detached garage as well, meant that the hoops to be jumped through were many!
Full plans and detail of materials and construction were needed
A key client target was a usable home office above the garage
"Living in a conservation area is lovely, but it adds responsibility to you as an owner to support and maintain the village environment.”
"We've done rebuilds and upgrades before, but this was the first time we hit the challenges of a conservation area. Peter and Lizzie steered us through all the tricky bits, dealt with all the details and the council's needs, and made sure the final result is exactly what we wanted."
The explosion of conservation areas across the south, largely since the erosion of green belts, means that more and more rural villages are being targeted as CAs, and with that comes a raft of additional requirements for any work. To start with, Permitted Development Rights (PDRs) are withdrawn, so even the most minor amendment needs full planning. Even cutting down a tree more than 100mm thick calls for an application.
Fortunately we are well versed in the needs of heritage buildings, and work closely with several local authorities, so are able to start from a strong position by ensuring that the first set of plans we submit have a very high chance of success.
In this case the key was to start by assuring the Parish Council that the building would blend into the local street scene with no discernible impact, which indeed it does. Then a meeting on site with the conservation officer to discuss build finishes, down to the type of cuts used to end the tile hanging runs, and the showing, or not, of rafter feet. All of this attention to detail meant that the application went straight though without any concerns, even though work to the rear of the house included new, large bi-fold doors and windows, and creating a balustraded balcony to a bedroom.
The Garage plans included details on electrics to secure best prices
Detailed plans were also required to change the windows
Despite the government publicity saying that planning permission will be made easier, the growth of conservation areas, National Parks and Ares of Special Scientific Interest means that planning's actually getting a lot harder to secure in many parts of the South East .
Devolution of planning powers to local authorities means that each district has its own take on what is allowable, and what isn't, so every case really is treated individually. From a householder's perspective this can turn into a nightmare, but from our point of view it means we just have to keep up to speed with the changing rules, frameworks and policies - all part of the day job!