Small extension big impact

With a track record of success in resolving tricky access issues  for the Vineyard Life Church (VLC) & Vineyard Community Centre and steering them through planning (2017 and 2019), VLC commissioned Philip Kassanis to design and then make a planning application for providing a new store and staff w.c.

The community centre is victim of its own success. Each week day in the morning there are between 12 to 15 staff and volunteers serving the needs of the clientele. At 10 sq metres the project is tiny but, if successful at planning, will provide much needed relief from several severe operational difficulties – it will have an impact far out of proportion to its size.

The client’s brief was to use lightweight materials to enable very quick site operations. This presented a challenge at two levels:

  • building regulations – bespoke solutions are required because of unusual site conditions and these require developing at the planning stage because the configaration is so spatially tight that there is no room for manoeuvre to develop the detailed design;
  • planning – the experience of the last planning application for the external stair showed that the planners are very alert to the question of “harm to a heritage asset” and are very liable to take a “safe” stance of refusing anything that could be remotely considered as controversial. The “safe” option in this intance would probably be a brick wall, slate roof structure.

To meet the planning challenge without the aid of a heritage consultant, Philip Kassanis relied on a well written DAS (a house speciality) doubling as a heritage statement and in house CGI’s.

The application was submitted at the beginning of May and consent recieved in 7 weeks without any discussion or negotiation with the planning authority.