This was a new vacant site brought forward as part of a long-term client’s investment portfolio. The project involved gaining consent for a mixed use new-build of small shops and flats above on the edge of a site that has seen significant development recently. The key here was in setting a useable brief for the project architects to work with, and then arguing the case for a vastly reduced parking commitment on site utilising an historic over-supply of parking on street. Despite having the national approach to minimising parking provision in order not to encourage travel by car, the council were very reluctant to take the plunge and accept our proposition. Since a buyer was on hand and speed was of the essence here, orbis carried out a further detailed parking and highways analysis that headed off any lingering arguments that council put forward.
We often find that the same matters are brought up again and again by the same officers at councils, despite there being a wealth of past evidence to dispel these comments. Sometimes, as in this case, it is worth considering a ‘belt and braces’ approach to push through your arguments, which whilst initially more costly can have great benefits in timescales for decisions and, avoid lengthy appeals with obstructive councils.
Orbis were initially contacted to find an appropriate architect to develop a scheme to redevelop a collection of semi-redundant Victorian buildings in our director’s home town. On providing this, Orbis were then tasked with taking forward the planning application to develop the site for a number of flats and houses and create a new ‘micro pub’ fronting the main street. The site was within a conservation area, opposite a scheduled ancient monument and had the potential for heritage issues within the buildings themselves. There was also an urgency to open up the micro pub to catch the pre-Christmas trading boom, so great care was taken on front-loading the proposal and getting the external details of the proposal right in order to smooth any concerns of heritage and planning officers.
From initial contact to opening this project took less than 6 months, achieved in part through a swift run through planning once all the necessary supporting details were put together. This might have delayed the initial submission by 1 or 2 weeks, but allowed officers at the council to be confident that all necessary aspects had been thoroughly considered once it was formally on their assessment table. Monitoring and project management whilst the application was submitted was also key in this process, with orbis consultants able to swiftly answer any queries on the spot.