J & J Design have been privileged to support a number of community projects for places of worship in a variety of locations as far afield as Cornwall and Scotland, on urban and rural sites.
The following examples will illustrate the multitude of challenges which have been identified and solutions found to deliver the projects.
Our clients purchased an urban fringe site adjacent to a mainline railway and local station, enclosed by a disused and filled canal designated as a wildlife corridor. The site frontage was largely occupied by an ageing Army Cadet Hut. The client brief included a replacement Army Cadet Hut, improved access for the Cadet Hut and car park, together with a detached church and car park. The church car park straddled a local brook which required a bridge to provide vehicular and pedestrian access. The new church was orientated to minimise railway noise impacts and low level lighting was required to avoid adverse impacts on bats foraging from the wildlife corridor.
A local church community were meeting in ‘house gatherings’ in a Hampshire village and required a local gospel hall as a satellite to the principal hall in Winchester. One of the members of the congregation was prepared to release land within his commercial premises for the small hall and a modest car park. After a sequential search of alternative potential sites, the local planning authority pre-application advice favoured this site but recommended a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment.
One of our Landscape Architect contacts prepared an LVIA and a local designer prepared the architectural drawings. J & J Design were engaged to submit the planning application with supporting statements including a Planning Statement and Transport Statement. A Noise Management Plan was also required to overcome concerns about the proposed hours of use. Local highway improvements and signage were agreed. Planning permission was granted despite the rural location outside the village envelope.
J & J Design were engaged initially to assist with a current application made by a local designer with minimal supporting documentation. The local planning authority was raising concerns due to an absence of any landscape or ecological assessments as the site was outside the village on a disused agricultural yard and in proximity to a traditional timber clad barn converted to several dwellings. On our advice the original application was withdrawn for further consideration.
Local landscape architects were engaged to prepare a Landscape and Visual Assessment and Ecological Survey. The ecologist found resident lizards which had to be translocated. The site layout was revised to position the proposed gospel hall close to the road frontage with the car-park to the rear. The local highway authority required the access road to be widened and new drainage works were required in the public highway to address a history of flooding. The building and car-park required a SUDS drainage scheme. These were designed by J & J Design.
The revised planning application addressed all the concerns raised by the original application. The provision of a community facility was accepted as an exception to local planning policy seeking to restrain new development outside village boundaries. Black weatherboard elevations and slated roof were chosen to reflect the character of the neighbouring barn.
J & J Design represented the applicants at the planning committee, where the officer recommendation was for approval but there were ongoing neighbour objections. These were carefully considered but the Committee accepted the officer recommendation. Planning conditions were subsequently discharged and J & J Design co-ordinated the detailed design of the timber framed structure and submitted the Building Regulations application and S278 Highways Agreement with Kent County Council to cover the road widening and new highway drainage scheme.