From prefab bungalow to family home
The village of Pevensey Bay lies along the coast of East Sussex, somewhat off the main tourist track, so it is still possible to bag bargain if you can find one of the few prefab beach houses built just after the second war. Which is exactly what our client, a senior Oil Company executive working in Nigeria decided to do for his retirement.
Unfortunately he bought it sight unseen, and it was only once he'd completed the purchase, that he found not only was it very cramped - just 700 square feet - the panel-based construction was never designed to last seventy years, and the entire building was life expired. He decided that a new build was the order of the day, and got in touch.
From the outside it looked OK...
We worked up several options to optimise space in the new first floor
"There was always a chance it might not be habitable, so we sought out a designer that understands building and living in tight spaces to advise on our options.”
The Coast Road falls within the Pevensey Conservation Area, not to mention being part of the sea defence flood plain, so the first challenge was to convince the Council that replacement was the only answer. Fortunately the planning policy encourages the creation of homes suitable for small families, so we were able to argue that the loss of a heritage building would be outweighed by providing sustainable family accommodation.
The design came under close scrutiny. The area is a mix of bungalows and detached 1960's houses, so we were constrained on the roof line, ending up with a 40 degree pitch to keep it to an acceptable height..
Even then we had to agree a strict materials schedule with the Conservation Officer, but managed to get full double glazing using a heritage style window throughout.
"One of the key benefits of using ExtensionPlanner to me was their ability to speak the Council's language. They acted as a very effective bridge, especially while I was in Africa, and made sure we ended up with a sustainable and practical design that would give us a perfect family home."
The planning process was complex - apart from the heritage and conservation issues, the flood plain requirements called for some pretty substantial flood proofing in terms of materials used for the ground floor, water run off and so on. These were all incorporated into the build schedule which we built for the client, and allowed them to get the best price for delivering this unusual and innovative home.
In a small space furniture layout is critical to ensure optimal use
Detailed build schedule ensured best price with no 'extras'
Tearing down the existing property and completely replacing it can be very liberating, but can also make life harder, as you really do start with a clean sheet. In this case the constraints of footprint and location meant that a lot of that freedom was removed, but it was still a lengthy process that took almost a year from first drawings to planning permission.
This wasn't the first new build we've designed, but it was certainly an interesting opportunity to deliver a project that worked against tight constraints and still delivered the client's ambition for a family home, within 100 yards of the sea. It gave them an excellent spot to spend their retirement, swimming, fishing and messing about on the water.