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Page of consents: latest planning approvals

Jan-Carlos Kucharek

Summertime's here... it's time to take a trip to the country

With sunnier days, the mind wanders to the drowsy cool afforded by a tree’s shade aside a quietly flowing river. No surprises then that this latest batch of planning consents, if not actually in the countryside, allude to village typologies or some bucolic past. Tate Harmer tries to touch the ground lightly at Grimshaw’s Eden Project, Carmody Groarke is intervening in a subtle manner in hilly Dorchester, while McAslan solicits the ire of those who would prefer to see Barry Gasson’s Burrell Collection at Pollok Park intervened in less than has been proposed. Meanwhile, Re-Format and Jonathan Tuckey look to the market square as inspiration; and the pages of The Gutenberg Bible will stay safely above any Thames surge tide in a nine storey archive at Lambeth Palace.



Client: Dorset County Museum

Architect: Carmody Groarke

Total area 2,500m²

Planning authority North Dorset Council

Planning ref: WD/D/17/000483

This expansion of the historic museum based in the picturesque county town of Dorchester aims to provide specialist display and conservation of the ‘internationally important geological, archaeological, palaeontological, literature and fine art collections.’  

The practice will provide much-needed improvement to its visitor welcome, better circulation and four new storeys of high quality exhibition and conservation galleries. 


For the firm – which is working on the Windermere Jetty Museum in the Lake District, the extension to the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester and a new hotel in Paddington, London – this project, set in the inspiration for Thomas Hardy’s  Casterbridge, must seem like small fry. But Kevin Carmody seems enthused, seeing it as a ‘wonderful opportunity to realise a much more coherent and comprehensive visitor experience.’ 



Client: The Eden Project

Architect: Tate Harmer

Total area: 4,571m² GIA

Planning authority: Cornwall Council

Planning reference: PA16/10409

In the happy valley of Cornwall’s Eden Project, architect Tate Harmer has joined Grimshaw on the eco-friendly campus with a new £8.5 million hotel, providing 109 bedroom, a restaurant and ancillary education rooms. Built completely of locally sourced materials, the building aims for high standards of energy-efficiency, sustainability and accessibility.

It’s not the first outing for Tate Harmer here: it was responsible for the 2011 Canopy Walkway in the Rainforest Biome, the second phase of which completes this year.


The hotel, which is due to complete in 2018, is set to provide on-site accommodation for some of Eden’s million plus visitors a year and enhance the facilities as a venue for summer events, conferences and weddings. The design will feature 27 larger rooms for family and inclusive accommodation.

Two new study spaces in the hotel are planned to support the Eden Project’s educational programmes, including apprenticeship schemes and degree-level courses.



Client: The Church Commissioners for England

Architect: Wright & Wright Architects

Total area: 5,430m²

Planning authority: London Borough of Lambeth

Planning reference: 16/07054/FUL and 16/07055/LB

As the first new building for 200 years at grade I listed Lambeth Palace, the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Wright & Wright is not only consolidating an expertise it developed working on extremely sensitive historical sites, it’s making its own mark in the ongoing, living history of England’s relationship of church to state. 


The nine storey building that the practice has established at the eastern end of the Palace Gardens in a sense pre-empts climate change; it moves the church’s precious archive, dating back to the 9th century, up into the gods to protect it from future surges from the Thames which lies directly to the north. It’s a cautious, necessary move – the huge religious archive is considered second in global importance only to that of the Vatican.

The building, while large, will partly be incorporated into the existing garden boundary wall and will be built of hand-made brick, the lower level rusticated, with stone. The pond will be enlarged adjacent to the building, with landscaping carried out by Dan Pearson Studio.



Client: The Burrell Collection

Architect: John McAslan + Partners

Total area: 12,900m2 (existing)

Planning authority: Glasgow City Council

Planning reference: 17/ 00514/ DC

John McAslan + Partners has been appointed to carry out the £66 million refurbishment on Barry Gasson’s 1983 Category A listed Burrell Collection, nestled in the sylvan setting of the city’s Pollok Park. The proposal will reconfigure the visitor circulation and open up the building’s basement store area. 


As well as increasing space and accessibility, the roof will also be completely overhauled, to optimise viewing conditions and help reduce the building’s carbon footprint. 

The proposal has not been without its detractors. John Meunier, who worked with Brit Andresen and Gasson on the project, felt that while the proposal dealt with ‘practical issues’,  it did not improve the logic of the circulation or ‘sustain the seriousness and quality of the original building.’ Claire Price, senior conservation advisor at the 20th Century Society, while questioning the new entrance sequence, called the whole ‘necessary and acceptable.’



Client: Horris Hill Preparatory School

Architect: Jonathan Tuckey Design

Total area: 299m²

Planning authority: Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council

Planning reference: 16/04638/FUL

This rural school outside Newbury, Berkshire, will get a significant addition with this new theatre block, placed to create a kind of urban agora.  The building provides four different kinds of spaces framing public activity.  Aside from the auditorium, the building has an amphitheatre to the rear, a cloister at its side and a large portico addressing a new ‘town square’; in all turning the village school into a form of ‘mini city’. 


The design was inspired by the classical city and the theatricality of its urban functions. The firm hopes it ‘will play an important role in developing  concepts of citizenship, with performance and debating taking place inside and outside the new building’.

The building is due to complete for the beginning of the 2018 academic year.



Client: Places for People 

Architect: Re-format Architects

Total area: 6,500m2

Planning authority: Milton Keynes Council

Planning reference: 16/02793/REM

Hampshire-based Re-format is keeping busy in Milton Keynes, with phase II of its Brooklands Square development. This significant extension of the city’s Eastern Expansion area is helping mark MK’s 50th anniversary. The scheme will consist of 2,500 homes, two primary schools, commercial offices, retail units and community facilities. At its centre, Brooklands Square, two three-storey blocks creating two sides of a new market square, forms the focus of this urban neighbourhood. 


Brick facades formed with deep recesses on the upper level apartments are further articulated with projecting fins and screens to give a sculptural component to the elevations.

Drawing on traditional market squares, the blocks define an urban, shared space ‘providing architectural diversity with emphasis on the verticality of individual buildings,’ creating ‘community facilities with a placemaking approach.’



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