07855 322 018 sales@homedesignstudios.co.uk
A Truly Grand Commission…

A Truly Grand Commission…

Montpellier House, Suffolk Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 2DY 21 Flats, 2 Maisonettes And 12 Houses Gordon Wake is a consultant surveyor with a wealth of experience in carrying out measured building surveys and the production of existing floor plans and elevations for the architectural sector.  Gordon has supported Home Design Studios in this capacity for circa eight years and is an invaluable member of our support team. Gordon was recently commissioned to produce elevation drawings for the very grand Montpellier House building in Cheltenham. The superb drawings included herein really bring home the extent of the task undertaken, and the wonderful form of this historic building.   A classic Grade II listed period building of great style and elegance built of ashlar over brick with concealed roof in 1832 by the architect Edward Jenkins.  Has interesting historical links to the famous architect Sir Robert Smirke who lived in Montpellier House from 1859 until his death in 1867 and was responsible for designing many famous classical buildings including the main block and façade of the British Museum. Suffolk Square occupies land bought by the Earl of Suffolk from the de la Bere’s, on which he built Suffolk House for his own residence; his daughter later sold much of the land on which Suffolk Square now stands to developer James Fisher. It was converted from a house into flats, probably in the...

Solar Farm Approved at Upper Arncott

Solar Farm at Upper Arncott gets Green Light An application for a solar park in Upper Arncott has been approved by Cherwell District Council, subject to conditions. The installation will see the eight megawatt solar photovoltaic installation built on a site that is currently an agricultural field used for arable crop growing as part of Brook Farm. Planning permission was sought by Green Energy UK Direct Ltd  to install the panels, covering 40 acres, approximately a metre off the ground and with a maximum height of about three metres, facing south. Ancillary work includes access, a temporary compound and a substation. The site will be contained by a two metre high steel mesh security fence, mounted with CCTV cameras. Cllr Michael Gibbard, lead member for planning at Cherwell District Council, said “Given the relatively flat landscape, combined with proposed landscaping, the council considered that the proposal wouldn’t be visually intrusive or  harm the topography, character or appearance of the landscape. “The National Planning Policy Framework encourages councils to approve applications for renewable energy. Added to this the applicants have shown that there are no other suitable brownfield sites, there are no highway safety issues and they will work with the Environment Agency to address their concerns.” Further details for this application are available on the Cherwell District Council website planning pages using the reference number...

Your right to appeal!

The planning system is shrouded in “legal speak and technicality” leaving many people under the impression that an appeal is a costly and complex process that is out of their reach.  This is not always the case. Over the past three years there have been in excess of 22,000 planning appeals per year against the refusal of planning permission.  On average 32% are successful resulting in the appeal being upheld and the decision being overturned.  However, whilst the number of planning appeals made may seem significant, they only represent a small proportion of the planning refusals issued by Councils in the UK.  With this number of appeals and the average success being one in three, there is an obvious indication of the benefit of considering an appeal against the decisions routinely made by Councils. The Council’s decision does not have to be final and circumstances other than a refusal, such as onerous conditions or restrictions, can also be appealed. However, time is of the essence as there is a restricted period within which an appeal can be made, which is six months from the date of the decision notice to refuse or 12 weeks in the case of Householder Applications.  In order to achieve the best chance of success an appeal needs to be made early. It is also beneficial to consider engaging professional help as the legal requirements and technical language utilised by the planning authorities, if you are unaccustomed to it, may be confusing.  That confusion can lead to an appeal being dismissed rather than allowed. There are three types of appeal, Public Inquiry, Hearing or Written Representations....

Farming Hemp for carbon negative house building!

Is Hempcrete a viable alternative to concrete?  Check out this Youtube video for an insight into this opportunity from the harvest of the hemp plant through to the finished walls of a new home. Visit http://www.limetechnology.co.uk/hemcrete.htm for more...

Playing the Planning Game!

Planning permission transforms the value of land and gives you the ability to create development opportunities. It can be a long, painful and risky business fraught with hassle and uncertainty — but the potential gain usually massively outweighs the pain It is planning permission on a piece of land that makes the difference between a building plot and just another field. As a self-builder, you will have the choice of either buying a plot with planning permission or to speculate yourself and achieve planning permission for exactly what you want. Either way, you need to have an understanding of the planning process because having the right permission is the only way you will be able to build the house of your dreams. Play the game Like any game, planning has its own rules but they are particularly unpredictable, open to interpretation and capable of being bent quite dramatically! Unlike building regulations, planning regulations are not hard and fast and they differ from one area of the country to the next. This is because planning involves local politics. Planning decision-making requires the interpretation of national and local planning policies by individual planning officers and by committees of elected councillors. The scope for inconsistencies between planners even in one authority is quite high — between differ­ent authorities it is huge. So if you’re going to get involved in building a house or even extending and refurbishing one, a flexible and pragmatic approach to achieving what you want is going to be helpful. The Planning Process Explained From the submission of your application to a decision being made should take no longer...

13 Months into the Larger Home Extension – Neighbour Consultation Scheme

The raft of measures granting new permitted development rights in England – including those for rear-of-house extensions – that came into force on 30 May 2013 have proved a hit with homeowners in Oxfordshire. The measures included increasing the size of single-storey rear extensions that can be built under permitted development for a period of three years between 30 May 2013 and 30 May 2016. These larger extensions are subject to a ‘light-touch’ neighbor consultation scheme, which removes entirely the planning officer assessment where there is no objection to a proposed extension from the immediate neighbors. This has led to a notable increase in the number of extension being applied for under this process. In brief, if your home is detached then the previous allowance of 4 metres has doubled to a whopping 8 metre rear projection from the (original) rear wall of the house. For attached properties the 3 metre restriction is increased to 6 metres. The scheme has since been extended for a further three years and is now set to expire on 30 May 2019, so if you have any thoughts toward building a larger single storey extension to your home then contact David at Home Design Studios on 07855 322 018 to learn more about this opportunity before it no longer...