Centenary court is the development of the former Springbank School, renovated by Swallow Hill Homes. Located in the heart of Eastwood, the building was opened in 1910 to its first young scholars; the infant school being located on the ground floor and the juniors upstairs. The site sits within the Eastwood conservation area.
The school closed in 2010 when a new, purpose built school was constructed on Church Street. Over the last 2 years the site has been redeveloped by Swallow Hill Homes. In 2014 the nursery was renovated and 4 new dormer bungalows constructed in a manner sympathetic to the school building. These have all been sold. The original school building has been named centenary court to recognise its 100 years of service to the local community.
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This development was on the site of a Turkey farm, over 50,000 square feet of sheds had to be removed in the course of this development, 5,000 tons of concrete broken up and replaced with a similar amount of top soil. This was no small job by any stretch of the imagination. The Barns had previously been used a ancillary use to the Turkey farm but had the usual issues of salts, damp and an exposed position on the planes of Cheshire.
Multifoil insulation was used in the roofs to achieve the required insulation values whilst keeping the conservation officer happy in maintaining the existing roofline without having to sacrifice critical headspace on the upstairs level.
The scale of the barns and their location meant that the local planning department where very supportive of a planning application for a large double garage for each of the properties, we took the opportunity to include a good sized games room/ storage room upstairs to take advantage of the space, we also built in provision for services such as water and electricity. We even ran sky cabling to the garages so the satellite and TV services could be mounted on these so as not to compromise the external appearance of the barns.
The site at Manor Farm is adjacent to a farmhouse which dates back to the 1600’s, as such the barns were all grade II listed and as well as planning permission required listed building consent before work could commence. Access to the large field around the outside of the site made access easy though a long wet winter and spring didn’t help progress!
The large open roof trusses were a fantastic opportunity to show off this building to its fullest potential. Internally the lack of foundations (a common problem we experience with barns) was resolved by pouring a steel reinforced structural slab and pinning it into the bottom of the barns walls. Locking the whole structure together.
The large size of the barn allowed us to build a breeze block internal wall onto the new internal slab and insulate behind it bringing it up to and in fact ahead of building regulations at the time, giving the advantages of the appearance of an old barn with the insulation of a luxury modern house.
Clever use of the levels made it possible to add an additional room in the attic space on one side with far reaching views. We had the opportunity to convert all of the loft space but wanted to avoid unbalancing the property’s living to sleeping space.
Southfields farm was purchased from the receivers of a previous developer. The exteriors of the properties had been completed to a good standard and the interiors were at various stages of completion. After a detailed review of the site it was decided the interior layouts didn’t work for their orientation in relation to their gardens and the position of the sun. The properties were arranged around a central courtyard and was better divided up into private spaces, leaving all three properties with sheltered private sun traps which made a real positive benefit for the subsequent inhabitants.
We did not feel we could sell properties with substandard interiors so we stripped out all of the internals and started again. Over the course of 15 month all three properties were renovated and successfully sold despite the prevailing market conditions.
McKenzie House, London
This 1/6th of an acre plot was secured in August 2008 with planning permission to erect a 2 bedroom detached house. A pair of heavily diseased trees on the site had to be felled and as such the foundations needed to be dug to a depth of at least 3 meters, recognising the potential of the site planning permission was gained for a 5 bedroom house with games room sitting on an identical footprint by adding a basement level and raising one side of the roof by 600mm. The result is a property that provides large open plan spaces without imposing on the surrounding houses.
The build was exceptional challenging due to a 2.1meter wide 40 meter entrance way onto the site. Nearly 1,000 tons of clay was removed in a period of 3 weeks and a reinforced concrete shell poured to form the fabric of the basement. All materials had to be brought down the narrow entrance way and delivered just in time as the small site area didn’t afford significant storage space. In addition to under floor heating a mechanical ventilation system and various energy saving measures were fitted to the property. The result is a house which emits only 60% of the carbon of an average property that size and outperforms its energy performance certificate by 25%.
We again purchased this group of barns part complete from the receivers of a previous developer. They had pretty much been completed and we evaluated the work done on each and stripped back to various stages depending on the amount of work required. We kept the layouts on all but one of the barns, only the largest – Threshing barn did we change the layout.
One major challenge was the layout of the site externally. There was no private garden space, we changed the access and the borders to allow all the barns to have their own private spaces & parking area’s. This greatly increased the sale ability of the barns. The site was grade 2 listed though we had the full support for our work by the local conservation officer & local planners.
Codnor Miners welfare
We purchased this site from Graham Penny Auctioneers, having closed as a welfare 5 years previously the site was being used by the local sports teams as a changing facility, however after fundraising they had a new sports pavilion to be built, rendering the former miners welfare redundant. Despite the local council being happy for the buildings to be developed we put in a new planning application which made better use of the site.
The larger upstairs spaces gave the four properties an exceptionally generous amount of space. The build was particularly challenging over the long 2012/13 winter which saw snow in April. The team were working outside for nearly all this time. 3 of the 4 homes sold over asking price as local people realised the quality and value of the properties. The original welsh slate roof was relayed and gray uPVC windows used to add to an industrial look. The properties were named after the Shipstone Brewery in Nottingham which previously supplied the Beer.
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