Donald Barber explains how PAI member Fenn Wright assisted in securing Listed Building and Change of use Consent on this historic building in the heart of Bury St Edmunds:
Fenn Wright are delighted to have secured Listed Building and Change of use Consent on behalf of a major national developer, CDP Ltd, who acquired Suffolk House, a prominent and historic building in Bury St Edmunds, on the former site of Palmers department store.
The scheme provides two ground floor retail units of approx. 1450sq.ft and 8 high specification residential apartments over three floors, including basement storage, extensive cycle facilities and a lift. The developer engaged the service of Fenn Wright to advise on Listed Building matters and identify which elements of the fabric of the building held historic significance and should be retained.
By undertaking detailed analysis, Donald Barber, an experienced Chartered Building Surveyor at Fenn Wright, advised the design team on how minor alterations to the plans could result in large amounts of the historic fabric being preserved, without impacting the viability of the scheme. Liaising closely with local conservation officers and planning authorities is key when working on projects such as this, where the restoration of a building with this stature is significant. The team subsequently prepared a full Planning & Listed Building Application with Historic Statement to support the scheme and we are pleased to say it received full consent in March 2021.
As the retail landscape continues to evolve, owners and investors are looking to maximise returns and limit losses by converting unused upper parts into residential accommodation. In Colchester High Street alone there have recently been 9 applications for conversions of the upper parts for residential use. This being achieved through either a full planning application or under Class O of the General Permitted Development Order.
Fenn Wright have successfully obtained full consent on several residential conversion schemes in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Colchester and Chelmsford, with further schemes in the region ongoing. There are significantly fewer validation requirements for prior approval schemes, however set criteria for office space must be met. From 1st August 2020, additional requirements for submission have been required to improve schemes such as provision of natural light to habitable rooms, whilst from the 6th April 2021, compliance with the minimum space standards is required.
Fenn Wright’s Building Survey team act for clients throughout East Anglia on a range of planning matters from Permitted Developments to residential extensions and new build schemes. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.