Planning Permission brings us a step closer

Oct 13

Planning Permission brings us a step closer

July 2014

After submitting our plans to the council there was a long period of silence with the plans taking weeks to even appear on the planning portal due to a backlog in the planning department.

Eventually when it did go online we kept a regular check to see if there was any news.

During one such check we discovered there had been one objection from a neighbour however having read the contents we still felt confident the points raised weren’t going to hold much weight with the planners.

To our surprise we then got a letter from our planning officer asking us to review our plans and change all the elements / points raised in the objection letter. We found this extremely exasperating and were preparing ourselves for a battle ahead, as there was no way we were prepared to change the fundamentals of our design. Making such changes wouldn’t have allowed us to improve the house design or function. The fact our design had been described as of a poor quality, just seemed to demonstrate many people’s attitudes towards and understanding of modern architecture.

After discussion with our architect an informed letter was sent in response to the planning officer, pointing out that we had gone to great lengths by putting in a pre planning application the year before which had been positive towards our plans and the points raised as being of concern had been addressed and therefore we couldn’t understand why this advice was now being contradicted.

The letter certainly worked and after they reviewed the case we have been granted planning permission.

The valuable lesson we have learnt from this is how important the preplanning application can be. It strikes me that this is your only opportunity to get impartial advice from the planning department without being swayed by external opinions such those of neighbours.

We believe if we hadn’t had the pre planning advice we would almost certainly have had a much harder and lengthy battle to get our planning permission.

Front perspective

Front perspective visual

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Project Woodlands hits a stumbling block

Oct 06

Project Woodlands hits a stumbling block

Its been a while since my last update and that’s because not a great deal has happened, and it has been a frustrating time.

After building control looked at our trial hole we did a further 2 trial holes in different places around the property. After having a structural engineer look at them, we employed a soil specialist to run tests in the hope that we would get a positive result enabling us to continue with the project as planned.

Unfortunately the soil report came back saying we wouldn’t be able to add further load without strengthening the existing foundations.

A structural engineer advised us we would need almost all the external and internal walls underpinned as well as lots of steel beams, to achieve the design we wanted. This came as a huge disappointment to us particularly when a costing came in that confirmed we just can’t afford to continue with the project we had dreamed of.

After we came to terms with the situation and our emotions subsided a little we revisited our plans and decided to modify them. The new plans will still transform the property, and we have made alterations to the floor plan to make the most of the space we have without converting the loft space. Below are some updated visuals and we have just submitted our plans to the council to get planning permission.

I really hope it goes through smoothly as I don’t think our emotions can take any more setbacks.

We really want to get started on the project now and are finding the slow progress very frustrating.

Once again the 3D rendered visualisation images are courtesy of David Hier.

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The Best Gardens at Chelsea 2014

Oct 06

The Best Gardens at Chelsea 2014

A couple of gardens stood out for me at this years Chelsea Flower show. The Positively Stoke-on-Trent garden with its giant stainless steel and water arches is a fabulous contemporary design that makes for a great show piece. I can even forgive the use of Roses as there is so much to like about this garden. The idea behind this garden was to encapsulate the idea of a dynamic city, resurgent and powering ahead, with the natural world and energy at its heart. The use of clean lines, steel and glass contrast with the natural planting and calming water pool to achieve this.

 

My personal favourite garden this year is The Mind’s Eye garden by LDC Design which has been awarded Gold and Best Fresh Garden in Show. There is so much I love about this contemporary garden, from the layout and hard landscaping right the way through to the planting. In particular I like the clean lines and materials such as perspex, granite and glass used for hard landscaping with wonderful splashes of bright colours which contrast perfectly  with the softer planting scheme. The young designers, for whom this is their first garden at Chelsea, really should be very proud and I will look forward to seeing more from them in the future.

 

A few other gardens worth a quick mention are the Extending Space garden for the angular pergola design. The Waterscape garden for its angular, geometric suspended patio. The Reachout garden for minmalist design and striking metal sculpture and the Telegraph Garden for the pebble shaped box and canopy of lime trees.

 

This years Chelsea Flower Show was as always an enjoyable visit however I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more contemporary gardens to inspire me.

 

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Slow progress

Oct 06

Slow progress

Its been a while since my last post and there has been little progress. We heard back from the planning officer just before the 8 week deadline. In general the feedback was positive, there were a couple of concerns but I think these can be addressed and I am hopeful we will have a good chance of getting planning permission. We have also now got an architect on board to help us and he has a structural engineer he works with and has contacts for local builders etc.

Its great to get somebody on board that appreciates what we have done so far and are trying to achieve and is keen to work with us on the project.

Something he did suggest was to dig an exploratory hole to establish what the existing foundations are like and getting building control to take a look so that we find out early on if there are going to be any problems. Having dug a hole we found the 3 layers of tarmac is relatively easy to get up but the foundations aren’t particularly deep. Building control have had a look and said they aren’t sufficient for another storey.  We are now awaiting the structural engineer to have a look and let us know what our options are and find out what the approximate costs will be. We are trying to remain positive and hopeful an affordable solution can be found and we are also going to speak to neighbours that have done a loft conversion to establish what if any measures they had to undertake.

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Best New Products at Chelsea Flower Show 2014

Oct 04

Best New Products at Chelsea Flower Show 2014

Two new and very different products caught my eye at this years Chelsea Flower Show.

The first were some fabulous sculptural metal flowers by Tom Critchley.

 

The second was a vertical planting system called BloomWall which was similar to a retaining wall product I have seen used in portugal. I have now discovered the BloomWall is also a portuguese product. The modular wall system is lightweight, rugged and simple to assemble with many possibilities. I think it is an ideal alternative to the traditional boundary fence or could be used to hide an existing fence and give your garden a contemporary feel. This is certainly something I am going to consider as part of my garden design which is currently work in progress.

 

www.bloomwall.com

 

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