We’ve had some interesting work in the office within the last few months, including remodelling houses in some of the more prestigious areas and designing a restaurant in Central Milton Keynes. Some of which are in a conservation area, and some are listed buildings. In the case of these, in addition to planning permission, you also need to get listed building consent which adds another level of burocracy, paperwork and detailing.
If you have a property which is listed or in a conservation area that you’d like to alter in some way, you will be required to give a lot more information to the local planning authority, including a detailed specification of the materials you’re going to use. In a conservation area, the planning authority will be mainly concerned about the outside appearance and will be eager to maintain the local genre. With listed buildings, the emphasis is sometimes as much about the inside as with the outside.
It’s not always about the appearance of the listed building, but sometimes it is the historical value that it has. Some of the concrete pillboxes from wartime are now listed, and these were not made to look pretty in the slightest. They were purely practical, reinforced walls with small holes from which to shoot from and for this historical value a few of them have been protected.
Conservation areas influence the way in which the local planning authority deal with planning applications which may affect the area in some way. Permitted development rights in these areas are also restricted, that means that you need a planning application for certain types of work you usually wouldn’t need consent for
The restaurant is an interesting project we have on at the moment, as most of our work comes from residential projects. It’ll be an African style buffet themed place to eat, so we’ve been trying to come up with interesting design ideas for both the interior and the exterior of the building, trying to give it a modern look with an African influence to it.