Martello Tower_A New Beginning

At Forge Design Studio we are very familiar with working with Listed Buildings and the planning constraints that are attached to them, however, Martello Tower F is a Scheduled Ancient Monument which carries with it a new level of Heritage involvement.

Martello Towers are small coastal artillery forts constructed after the renewal of war with France in 1803 to defend England against the threat of invasion. Their design and name were taken from a tower at Martello Bay, Corsica. 103 towers were constructed along the coast in two phases, those in Essex and Suffolk being built between 1809 and 1812. 

Martello Tower F is the only remaining moated example on the Essex coast. The tower is an important local landmark which has been through a variety of uses over its lifetime. 

Creating a viable long-term, sustainable use is a constant issue, appointed by our clients in the summer of 2020, the brief was to bring forward a series of design ideas to bring the redundant monument back to life and provide a sustainable multi-functional events space, specifically aimed at Weddings and Hospitality functions.

We propose a ring of lightweight masted structures located in the moat which will take a flexible tensile tented roof which can be tailored to suit the size of the event being catered for. Historic England stipulated that no fixings should be made into the fabric of either the tower or the moat walls – we worked closely with the engineers to arrive at a suitable solution.

A lightweight ‘saucer like’ structure is added to the roof to create an exclusive, unique vantage point which can be used to host a variety of gatherings – from weddings to corporate events. Services and functions will take place within the restored first floor space. 

Our design team have put together a comprehensive a Pre-Application design submission which sets out the proposal for a complete self-contained venue which can accommodate all aspects of a wedding celebration. The key factor in this design is flexibility, the venue needs to accommodate small parties as well as larger events.

We look forward to continuing work on this truly unique project and are very excited to fill this important old building with life and celebration!

Sunshine Garden Centre_Visioning Document

Forge Design Studio have developed a vision for the future development of the Sunshine Garden Centre which is situated nr Alexandra Palace, North London.

Located on the site of a former open-air lido the Garden Centre is a very successful business which has long out-grown its premises. Significant aspects of the retail operation have moved on line yet the stock remains on site and takes up a great deal of valuable space. 

The nature of the business means that there is also substantial footfall who still visit the site. Balancing these sometimes conflicting demands as well as dealing with deliveries presents great challenges to the management team. In addition the building fabric is in poor condition and is also in urgent need of renewal.

The site is well located on a main route and sits alongside a popular local park. Opportunity exists to engage with the local community and to make a much more positive contribution to the neighbourhood. The site is famous locally for its Christmas displays and is fantastically busy.

A comprehensive masterplan was required to fully explore the relationships and inter-connectivity with the existing facilities, the neighbouring park, car parking/deliveries and access and the proposed new residential uses which will help the viability of the whole development. 

The Practice were responsible for developing the initial designs through 3d massing models and visualisations. Inter-connections for pedestrians/community uses and customers were considered in detail and the whole site was opened up and made more accessible.

Valuable shopfront and much more kerbside appeal was created to the main road which will appeal to the many notable brands for which the Garden Centre holds the franchise.

These exciting proposals represents the continued investment and commitment by the Management team to the long term future of the operation. We are looking forward to maintaining our involvement as the project moves forward.

Odyssey Health Club – Permission Granted!

Forge Design Studio are proud to have been involved with the redevelopment of the site at Odyssey Heath Club in Stevenage since 2015.

Initially we worked on the overall masterplan and redevelopment of the redundant part of the site for residential use. This was initially granted consent in May 2017. Since then the residential scheme has been subject to further change and design development and is now due to start on site imminently.

In the intervening period we have been commissioned to design and develop proposals for the internal re-modelling of key areas of the club including the changing areas, former squash courts, yoga studio and spa area. 

Most recently Stephen Aucott, the Managing Director asked us to develop proposal for the external areas to include –

  • New Entrance and improved circulation
  • New tennis courts and floodlighting
  • Sun terraces
  • Open air outside pool
  • External exercise areas 

A comprehensive masterplan was required to fully explore the relationships and inter-connectivity with the existing facilities, car parking and new residential uses. A planning application was prepared and submitted to North Herts in Dec 2021 and after a period of negotiation and discussion, consent was granted at the end of April

These exciting proposals represents the continued investment and commitment by the Management team to the long term future of the club. We are looking forward to maintaining our involvement as the project moves forward to construction.

Residential Project, Richmond upon Thames – Visual Communication

Forge Design Studio have worked with our client Rockhold alongside Iceni Planning Consultants, over the last 18 months on the detailed planning application for a 5-unit,  high-value residential scheme within the Kew Green Conservation Area, Richmond.

The scheme is situated on a redundant site, currently occupied by lock-up garages at the end of a residential cul-de-sac. It is a tight, narrow, urban site which has presented numerous constraints and challenges through-out the process. Extensive consultation has taken place in the neighbourhood and a series of one-to-one meetings with adjacent owners was particularly informative. 

A flavour of the project is included which shows our visualisations taken from the same point over the life of the scheme.

The five properties have been designed in response to the existing grain, scale and mass of the adjacent Edwardian terraces. Sited to reflect the adjacent housing they have a generous amount of south-facing private garden space.

Detailed elevational studies have been undertaken looking at proportion and arrangement of the main elements. A more contemporary approach is suggested which reflect the principles of the surrounding buildings without reverting to pastiche. This has been generally supported by the Planning Authority and has been welcomed by the client.

As ever, the means of communicating the design intention has been critical. We have drawn on our full range of graphic skills from initial hand drawn and coloured sketches, rudimentary sketch CAD modelling, through to completed CGI visuals developed in-conjunction with our good friends @MakeStudio in Bournemouth.

We have also modelled the scheme in the wider urban context to demonstrate how well it sits in the context.

Watch this space for the final conclusion to the Planning Application.

Rose & Crown, Aston – Permission Granted!!

It’s a Marathon not a Sprint!!

Forge Design Studio are delighted to confirm that May 2021 sees the conclusion of one of our longest running planning sagas.

Located in the rural village of Aston to the east of Stevenage, The Rose and Crown, and associated Barn, is a Listed Building which had been left vacant for over 12 months until our clients, purchased the site in 2016. Prior to this the pub had a chequered history having struggled in a really difficult trading environment with 11 different landlords in the previous 10 years.

We were appointed towards the end of 2016 to develop a design and planning strategy to utilise the site for housing whilst maintaining a fully functioning micro-pub. After a lengthy gestation period we submitted an application in July 2017 and proceeded to engage with the Local Authority Planning Officers culminating in an Officer Recommendation for Approval.

The project was taken to Planning Committee at East Herts District Council in March 2018 and was refused based on the strength of objections from local lobbyists.

It should be noted that the scheme is entirely Policy compliant and there is no argument about the principle of the re-use of the site. The chief protagonists set out an alternative vision which appeared to ignore the trading history and viability of the business bearing in mind there is another pub in the village. 

There then followed a series of applications, refusals, withdrawals and appeals culminating in the final, mid-pandemic, application in July 2020. It was decided to omit the pub from the application on the basis that the market would find its true value and that the Local Community would sustain its re-birth!

So, after 5 years of effort we have permission for a modest new build scheme consisting of 4 residential units on a highly sustainable location on a vacant site in the centre of a village and a still vacant pub.

Given the uncertainties we all face in the aftermath of the Pandemic, if this timescale through the Planning process is the best that can be done,  it’s going to be a long road to recovery. 

New Instructions!

 

Two new instructions have been received for residential development in Uxbridge and Leatherhead. Working with our joint client from the successful re-development of the Former Sun and Harrow site in Ware these two opportunities present interesting and different challenges.

One site is home to a business selling RV’s and the other has potential for backlands development as well as PD on the existing office block. They are typical of the type of sites which require careful handling to ensure that value is enhanced whilst in their own, relatively small way helping to tackle the shortfall in affordable, accessible housing.

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Work is underway on the projects with the intention being to submit planning applications as soon as possible.


 

Spring Lunch @ The Forge!

Forge Design Studio hosted a Spring Lunch on Friday 31st March.

We’ve never seen the studio busier as the guests enjoyed catching up on our latest projects, meeting the team and sampling one of our famous home-cooked lunches. The sun shone and it was great to see the garden being used.

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It was also a great opportunity for everyone to meet the Connected Collective as Adrian, David, Jeff and Nicola all managed to come along. The Collective are working on their first opportunities together and are looking forward to seeking out new projects.

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Looking forward to our next one!


 

Forge Design Studio’s Year in Review!

 

Living Spaces

After a great deal of fund-raising effort on the part of the YMCA, work has started on site at the former St Silas Church Centre in Cheltenham. The scheme will provide 21 living spaces in a comprehensively re-modelled existing building. There will be a range of unit sizes from small studios to 1-bed apartments.

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Forge Design Studio are working with the appointed Main Contractor to develop detailed working drawings and schedules to support the construction (see examples below). The constraints of the existing building has created challenges which the team have worked together to overcome. Work is continuing at full pace on site and is due for completion in the summer.

Ground Floor Plan:

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First Floor Plan:

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We have also been involved in a series of local residential projects which range from the Cedardore project in Wellow – a complete new build dwelling, to Remenham House in Whiteparish – an interior design project, through to Cowesfield Lodge – a comprehensive
re-modelling and extension under permitted development, which is located within walking distance of the office!

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All of our projects are treated with the same level of professional service and respect. They are greatly valued, providing us with a varied and interesting series of opportunities.

We look forward to 2017 with eager anticipation.


 

Forge Design Studio’s Year in Review!

 

Historic and Listed Buildings

Working with historic buildings forms an important part of our portfolio. Previously illustrated projects at The Former Waters Garage site and Portslade have both featured locally listed buildings within Conservation Areas, however we have also been working on a number of projects involving Grade II and Grade II* listed buildings.

The Thatched Cottage, Silver Hill is the redevelopment of a severely fire damaged cottage. Located in the countryside nr Shenley, Borehamwood our client has bought the site which includes the burnt-out shell of the cottage.

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We are bringing forward a strategy for re-development, this involves working closely with Historic England, the Planning Local Authority and our specialist Historic Building advisor. We are aiming to develop detailed design proposals and make a formal application in the New Year.

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We are actively working on two sites for redevelopment which include Public Houses, both of which are Grade II listed buildings. These projects involve re-use of the buildings and as such require a sympathetic approach to re-modelling and the downsizing of the hospitality areas. Long term sustainability and viability of the business are crucial and it is important that the proposals are matched to respect the building form and fabric.

 

 

Detailed studies have been undertaken to gain a full appreciation of the buildings and proposals. Both projects are with the Local Authority Planning Departments for consideration.


 

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Forge Design Studio’s Year in Review!

Regeneration Projects

Regeneration of previously developed urban sites remains at the heart of many of our projects. Work has continued on all stages of development across a number of schemes.

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Our first site in Hertford, the Former Waters Garage on North Road has commenced construction work. Whilst we have not remained active on the project, it was sold-on by our client, we are very interested to see the buildings emerge from the site. It has been a complex undertaking for the new owners but it appears the values and interest which is being created will make it a successful development.

Click here to find out more!

On the opposite side of the road!! …. we have carried out the working drawing programme for 60-68 St Andrew Street. We achieved planning permission in February and have worked with our client on the detailed development of the proposals – utilising our 3D BIM skills during the process. The archaeological investigation which was required as part of the planning conditions has been completed and a start on site is due early in the New Year.

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Our largest single regeneration project, at the Former Brewery Site, Portslade is currently going through the planning process. The proposal includes a mixed-use of 50 residential units, in a mixture of new build and conversion, together with a Creative Arts complex providing start-up, low rental employment space. We are in detailed negotiation with the case Officers and are looking forward to a positive outcome early in February

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