Office to become new homes

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Empty offices above shops could soon be converted into flats if proposed changes from the government come into force next month.
Currently planning permission is required for material changes of use of land or a building even if no building work is required. Converting an office above a shop to a residential use would therefore usually require planning permission but from October 1st this could all change.

After an announcement made by the government Permitted development rights look likely to be extended to include the conversion of parts of certain offices and shops to two residential flats.  There will still be exceptions as local authorities can remove permitted development rights where they think they may cause a problem – for example in conservation areas.

Under the 1995 Order, local authorities can remove permitted development rights in geographic areas where they think these new rights might cause a problem. They can do so by making an Article 4 direction, the effect of which is to a require a planning application which in other locations would not be necessary. Article 4 directions are commonly found in conservation areas.

Announcing the proposed changes Mr Pickles said:

“These are common sense planning reforms that will deliver more affordable homes in areas where there are good transport links whilst ensuring better use of existing developed land. Cutting this red tape should be a shot in the arm for the high street increasing footfall and providing a boost to regeneration.”

We look forward to finding out if the new permitted development rights will be as revolutionary as Mr Pickles hopes when they are brought into force in October.

Contemporary Architecture in St Leonards

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This blog post is about the contemporary architecture near where I live in St Leonards.  I should be clear that none of the buildings shown were designed by Living Space Architects, although I must admit I wish I had designed some of them myself as they are beautiful.  Where I can I have credited the architect who designed the buildings, but if you know a bit more please do let me know and I will add a further credit.

All photographs were taken by me from the street.

This Sunday was a beautiful sunny day and I was lucky enough to have an hour or two to wander around St Leonard’s in Exeter taking photos.  St Leonards has quite a bit of contemporary architecture – something that attracted us to the area when we moved to Exeter.  People are often surprised that contemporary buildings are given planning permission in Conservation Areas, but to me the contrast between a beautiful Georgian or Victorian building and a piece of good quality contemporary architecture makes places vibrant and interesting.  

Contemporary house on St Leonards Rd Exeter

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A good example of a simple contemporary house that works extremely well in its context can be found on St Leonard’s Rd. The simple lines of the white render and Zinc roof work well set against the neighbouring, more traditional white rendered houses.

Contemporary House on Wonford Rd, Exeter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This gorgeous house by the architect David Sheppard takes that concept further; at first glance it is a white rendered box, but as you move closer and past the building you notice the clever use of white-washed larch cladding and exceptional detailing of elements such as windows and doors.

An important aspect of the design of these modern buildings is scale, by ensuring that the buildings reflect the scale of the surrounding street scape the architects have enabled them to sit effortlessly and gracefully amongst their older neighbours without causing a fuss.

Contemporary House Matford Rd Exeter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My final choice is a house by Harrison Sutton Architects on Matford Lane in St Leonard’s. The house is situated next to the Old Rectory, a lovely old stone building that stands up to the Rd. The new house stands proudly alongside with its curved stair tower animating the front facade.  The result when viewed alongside the neighbouring Victorian buildings is a successful link between the white rendered semis and the older rectory.

 

Barns

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Today we’re enjoying looking at barns in the office, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that some of the barns we like had even been listed.  Pictures are of a beautiful barn in Dunsford near one of our new projects and a gorgeous house in Galway by Richard Murphy Architects.