Edwards Covell Architecture and Planning obtained planning permission for a significant addition to an extremely sensitive site in Cheltenham. The site is a 16th century barn adjacent to a Grade 2 listed thatched cottage. The barn is small, barely accommodating two stories and is a simple gable ended structure with many original timbers in the facade and internal structure. It was converted a number of years ago and even featured in an early episode of Grand Designs. There have been a number of poor subsequent additions, and more recently a planning approval for two more side and rear extensions and a replacement outbuilding, which we successfully demonstrated would further detract from the original barn.
ECA were tasked with designing a scheme that would not conflict with the barn but would provide significant additional space. A separate contemporary two-storey build, semi-submerged and accessed through a glass link is proposed, with the poor quality existing extensions removed to fully reveal the barn’s original facades. We have concealed the extension behind the existing barn in order to make it almost invisible from the street. As the planning officers required the extension to be below the eaves of the barn, a large amount of the space is below ground. Therefore we have carefully considered how to draw light into the basement through a series of light wells, roof lights, sunken terraces and full height openings. The timber cladding is made to form a complex profile that will provide the effect of narrow slats. Combined with a series of slot windows and folding doors this gives the building an über contemporary feel. This was important as we and the planning officers felt it must not mimic or borrow from the existing design.
The extension is large in footprint (matching that of the existing building) but by taking it away from the barn and semi-submerging it, along with restoration to the barn’s delicate facade, we hope this proposal will return the barn to its former glory and provide an excellent family home.
Working closely with Cheltenham Borough Council at a pre-application stage was essential and the CGIs really sold the scheme to them. They agree that this contemporary addition to the listed building will improve its setting and is preferable to the previously approved scheme. Our multi-disciplinary team sharing the same studio really worked well on this project. Our experienced planning consultants had little trouble convincing the planners that a modern approach was better.