We have secured approval at planning committee for the development of 6 x high-quality flats in a historic setting, in the centre of Romford.
The approved scheme will add a vertical extension to an existing retail unit, creating 6 x dwellings on the upper floors, redeveloping an underused building of limited architectural merit in a prime town centre location. The retail use of the ground floor will be retained and you can read more about the scheme here.
The site was not without its complications as it adjoins a 15/16 century Grade II listed building and a Grade II* listed church. The architects at APS Design Associates responded to the historic setting with a scheme which combined spacious, modern flats with a traditional design ethic and used a historic influenced elevational treatment of render and timber to reflect the setting.
Pre-application discussions and design:
Pre-app with the Council was positive and fed into the final planning submission, with a reduction in the scale and bulk of the built form, and careful positioning of the proposed new floor to create a subtle set-back to reveal the neighbouring roof of the listed building.
Presentation at planning committee:
Despite a positive pre-app, a robust planning submission and extensive engagement with the case officer, the scheme was recommended for refusal due to an objection from Historic England.
With support from the project team heritage consultant, EDP, it was identified that the comments made were subjective, contrary to guidance and failed to reflect the legal position in respect to listed buildings.
As there were no objections to the scheme we were not permitted to speak in favour of the scheme at committee. We responded by overseeing the compilation of a pack which was presented to the planning committee, which reiterated the material considerations in favour of the development including:
- That the scheme presented an ideal opportunity to redevelop a building with no aesthetic value, into an exciting addition to the town centre;
- Through the use of quality materials and careful design, the scheme would complement the heritage setting of the church and improve the street scene;
- That the pre-application discussions with the Council had been positive and we identified how their feedback had fed into the final design;
- That the redevelopment presented an effective use of land with the reuse of an existing building;
- That the development will provide a valuable source of smaller dwelling units in a sustainable location, meeting an identified housing need.
We made a successful case and the application was approved, with the committee members acknowledging that the proposed development represented a sustainable, high-quality, visually attractive building in an area where positive regeneration is sought.
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