The Main Character
The owners of the site are two young entrepreneurs from Northampton who are investing heavily in their home town in order to improve the quality of housing stock in the town centre and help drive forward its rejuvenation. They have invested heavily in town centre sites and, through their business partnership, are creating their own unique brand of developments that are being warmly received by investors and home owners alike. They work closely with their professional team, local politicians and the planning department and planning consultant to achieve high density consents that defy local planning policy.
St. Giles street is located within the Derngate conservation area in the heart of Northampton’s cultural district. The Derngate conservation area includes many listed and locally listed buildings, including the Royal Theatre and a Charles Mackintosh altered 19th Century townhouse. The site is located on St Giles street which is a varied collection of properties of different periods, styles and uses.
The existing property is somewhat of an anomaly to the street. A single storey 1930’s building with an access that runs around the property, it has been used for various medical purposes during its lifespan. With it being located within the town centre, it is on a street defined as a secondary shop frontage street. Although the site is within the town centre, Northamptonshire County Council parking standards dictate that there should be parking provided for the units. The design team will, therefore, need to take all this into consideration when designing the scheme.
The brief for the project is to create a mixed-use building of retail and residential units that maximises the GDV of the site. The brief for the residential units was to exploit the deep site by creating long narrow units that create the largest possible building footprint on the site. With the property being in such a sensitive area, the proposal needs to be of architectural merit, use high-quality materials and have strong detailing to be acceptable to all statutory consultees within the planning process.
Our client took a keen interest in design and wanted to be heavily involved throughout the design process; we, therefore, adapted our design studio to facilitate this. Through this adaptation, we worked in a collaborative manner to arrive at a design all members of the team could be proud of. Due to time constraints, we had a lightweight pre-application consultation with informal meetings with the case officer responsible for planning applications to the centre of Northampton. With the principle of the scheme established through these meetings a full planning submission was made.
Scroxton & Partners managed this application closely and, through regular liaison and negotiation, we were able to gain a consent for the scheme that had two commercial units to the ground floor and sixty studio units located over four floors. The residential density of the scheme exceeded all previous consents within the area and, by successfully negotiating the need for parking or policy compliant amenity space for the scheme, the maximum GDV for the site was achieved.
The Final Twist
After gaining consent for 61 open plan studio units, we successfully submitted a section 73 application to vary the consent to include a separate bedroom with an internal window through into the open plan living space, thereby increasing the resale value and further enhancing the GDV of the site.