As many of our clients will understand only too well, living in a Listed Building and altering it in any significant way can be challenging at the best of times. But when the building is too small to accommodate even the most humble of family living spaces, there can, in some cases, be an avenue of hope in the planning system.
We worked with one such building recently - a small, quirky Grade II listed lodge in Cheshire. The existing lodge provided the equivalent of just one room on each floor and had also had a ground floor extension added in recent years, providing a separate kitchen area, but was still woefully short of providing even the basic space required for a family home.
We therefore argued for a further extension on the grounds of 'Enabling Development', where the future of the listed building and its ongoing use and maintenance outweighs the negative impact of further development on the site. This type of planning policy 'enables' a development that would otherwise be prohibited, although it still requires careful design and justification.
We developed a proposal for an underground extension which creates a contemporary courtyard with the principle new living rooms and bedrooms directly off it, whilst minimising the impact on the nearby lodge.
The existing building will be retained as a double height entrance space to the enlarged house, with a library gallery above and a new spiral staircase reaching from the gallery all the way down to the new basement extension. The client can enjoy an exciting new house with a vibrant contrast of intimate and introspective spaces and more expansive, contemporary interiors.