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New Years Resolutions

Christmas is a time of year where we often make plans to host extended family and friends to enjoy the festive season with loved ones. However, sometimes having extra people in your home, even if just for a day or two, can create added pressure and stress if your home starts to feel overcrowded - wouldn’t it be great to have an extra guest bedroom? Or a larger kitchen for creating that family feast? How wonderful to have a dedicated dining room for special occasions, or a welcoming hallway with extra coat storage, or a bigger utility room.

Many people who live in older buildings, Listed buildings and Conservation Areas, love the character of their homes and genuinely seek to live in and maintain them in a sympathetic manner. This can sometimes mean compressing their lives and their possessions into what were often quite small and awkwardly planned buildings, simply not designed for modern living.

Of course, the house may have been perfect when you bought it, but families often grow over time, added in-laws, and of course children, can completely alter the way we live in our spaces. Add a dog or two into the equation and it can really start to feel like a squeeze! A few extra chairs, a large tree, and lots of presents added to an already too-small sitting room and it can be enough to make you want to sell up.

Perhaps you’ve thought about extending, but have been deterred by a listed building designation, or by the thought of the upheaval and dealing with builders and contractors, let alone navigating the planning process. Or you simply may not know where to start.

However, getting planning permission granted to extend an older or listed building is entirely possible if you understand the process and regularly work with the local Planners and Conservation Officers. A popular approach we find is to contrast a proposed extension with an existing building, creating a very different ‘intervention style’ design to compliment what is already there, often with a contemporary feel.

Understanding the fabric of the building, which parts are significant and why, and creating a sympathetically designed extension to enhance your property can be a complex process. The local Conservation Officer will require a thorough understanding of the building and its history. Additional factors with old buildings, such as roosting bats or local archaeology can all add complexities to a planning application, particularly if you are also within an AONB, SSSI, RAMSAR impact zone or Bat Consultation Zone. If your home is located in rural Somerset or the West Country then this is quite likely. Seeking expert advice and assistance is especially invaluable if you fall into one of the above categories.

The team at ArchiWest handle Planning and Listed Building applications on a daily basis, helping clients achieve their vision, whist sympathetically adapting older buildings in Somerset and beyond for modern living, increasing desirability and value. By working closely with our clients to understand their requirements, we explore design concepts that work harmoniously for both the occupiers and the building. We have developed an exceptional network of consultants and specialists over the years, who share our passion for heritage buildings, along with many good working relationships with local Planning and Conservation Officers.

Our services are very much tailored to our clients’ requirements, from the initial survey and design concept, to the planning process providing detailed heritage & design statements, right through to technical drawings and full project management. So why not make a New Year’s Resolution to get in touch with us for chat about how we might be able to bring your ideas to life!

The driving vision behind ARCHIWEST is our passion to improve existing unique buildings, through conversion, alteration and extension.

Our design philosophy is grounded in the practice of building conservation with sustainable energy principles and the strong desire to adapt/reuse in favour of replace.

Contact us if you would like to know more about how we can help with your project. - 01934 311017


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