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Page of consents 27 July

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Jan-Carlos Kucharek and Isabelle Priest

Grimsby rescue mission falters, Portsmouth cells to become homes, a landmark building for Swansea University and another boutique hotel for the capital

Aside from this week’s collection of the intriguing, the curious and the conspicuous permissions, one needs to bear in mind those rare ones that result in vacant rather than constructed space. Take North East Lincolnshire Council’s consent to demolish six historic Victorian warehouse and store buildings at Grimsby Docks – subject of a called-for judicial review by SAVE Britain’s Heritage, which faltered this week due to lack of funds. SAVE argued that Grimsby’s past as the world’s largest fishing port confers a special status on the Cosalt buildings, due to make way for storage areas for proposed wind turbines, so removal would be detrimental to the siting of the nearby grade I listed Dock Tower and grade II* Ice Factory. And so the idea of value through visual association for those seeking a reprieve for Grimsby’s port architecture has proved victim to the winds of change.


Client: King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership

Architect: Piercy&Company

Total area: 28,804m2

Planning authority: London Borough of Camden

Planning ref: 2016/1877/P

Planning success for Piercy&Company, with its competition winning double block development on a predominantly enclosed site north of Stanton Williams’ Central St Martins School of Art, on a site that was originally intended to be a development for Sainsbury’s, by RMA Architects, which won consent in 2009.


This redesigned, large mixed-use scheme combines open market and social rented apartments, affordable office space and ground floor retail units. The two blocks will be broken down into four volumes with heights ranging from 10 to 13 storeys.

The firm says it looked to the site’s Victorian warehouse typology, that even now has the flexibility to be adapted for both living and working. It has proposed a system of lightweight ultra-high performance concrete units inlaid with finely textured brickwork, with each glazed, pre-cast stone and brick bay repeating with subtle variation.

Intended to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 and a BREEAM Excellent rating for the office component, plot R8 is the latest piece in Argent’s ongoing 27ha urban jigsaw.



Client: City & Country Residential

Architect: FCB Studios

Total area: 26,400m2 site area

Planning authority: Portsmouth City Council

Planning ref: 16/00085/FUL and 16/00086/LBC

Plenty of porridge to be had in Portsmouth now that Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios has received planning permission and listed building consent for its redevelopment of the city’s former HMP Kingston, to turn the whole Victorian prison site into a 230-unit residential scheme. This will involve the conversion of the cells, chapel and infirmary along with new-build apartments, all set within Grant Associates’ landscaping.


FCB Studios’ Richard Collis claims that while prisons have been converted into hotels or museums, no one has attempted a residential conversion of a prison on this scale – the proposal even includes retention of the listed walls of the Panopticon prison and its gatehouse, which will feature a café. Phase 1, starting in early 2017, will involve redevelopment of the site’s grade II listed buildings.

Client City & Country Residential specialises in redeveloping institutional sites and is keen that the new development reflects aspects of its former guise. FCB Studios is also working with the client on the redevelopment of the former HMP Gloucester, one of four sites acquired from the Ministry of Justice in 2014.



Client: Aberdeenshire Council

Architect: Moxon Architects and Alan Marshall

Total area: 1,030m2

Planning authority: Aberdeenshire Council

Planning ref: APP/2016/1021

In Scotland, local authorities like Aberdeenshire Council have responsibility for local regeneration. The Scottish Government defines regeneration as ‘the holistic process of reversing the economic, physical and social decline of places where market forces alone won’t suffice’.


In May 2013, Aberdeenshire Council agreed its regeneration strategy would be focused on Fraserburgh as the area of most need within the region. As part of its plans for the town, Moxon Architects has secured consent, in collaboration with conservation architect Alan Marshall, for the reconfiguration of two historic civic buildings: the council chambers at The Town House, built in 1853, and the adjacent former Police Station from 1906.

Moxon and Marshall will restore and combine these buildings to provide front-of-house facilities for Aberdeenshire Council. The design includes a contemporary rear extension to provide a new circulatory system for both properties that reconciles differences in floor levels. Non-original features will be demolished to make way for the extension. Invisible from the front of the building, the addition will step down from three to two storeys to maintain clear views of the notable Corinthian domed rotunda from the rear. Edgy and industrial, it will be clad in areas of opaque and perforated advanced weathering steel rainscreen, creating a backstreet wonder.



Client: Raykor Ltd

Architect: Squire and Partners

Total area: 2,518m2

Planning authority: London Borough of Southwark

Planning ref: 15/AP/4980

South of the river, the regeneration of Southwark continues with this latest consent for Squire and Partners for a new boutique hotel on Borough High St – a step down size-wise from its eye-boggling 270-room high-rise Montcalm Hotel in Shoreditch. This rather more modest seven-storey hotel will provide 50 guest rooms alongside a public café and reception space at ground.


The main facade of five storeys has a bottom-middle-top arrangement inspired by adjacent buildings. A response to local conservation area demands, the resulting glazed brick elevation’s middle section has regular punched windows, with a cornice line and half-brick recess defining the top storey. The two top set back floors replicate the patterns and proportions of the main facade in aluminium.

Glazed bricks intersperse the elevation across the facade. This, the firm say, is an abstract interpretation of the ghost signs displayed on the adjoining buildings, giving texture to the facade and connecting with the site’s past.



Client: Galliard Homes

Architect: Stephen Davy Peter Smith Architects

Total area: 10,380m2

Planning authority: Hackney Council       

Planning ref: 2015/2596

A site that has caused enormous controversy over several years for including the demolition of a much loved heritage site and well-known photographic studio Holborn Studios, Stephen Davy Peter Smith Architects has won planning permission for a mixed residential, office and restaurant scheme along a prominent stretch of the Regent’s Canal in Islington. 


Located on the site of a three-storey 1841 Victorian warehouse complex for Regent’s Canal Ironworks, the revised redevelopment will include 50 homes as well as 5,644m2 of B1 commercial space by converting and extending the original building and its landmark chimney.

To counter the upheaval of redeveloping Holborn Studios, the architect insists that the commercial element of the scheme significantly increases the overall employment floor space of the site. It remains to be seen whether the new facilities will be appropriate in design and rents for the existing tenants, and Holborn Studios as well as The Regent’s Network are separately seeking judicial reviews.

Billy McCartney, managing director of Holborn Studios, explained: ‘We were given six days to review the application, and the [proposed] photographic studios do not have appropriate access, sufficient ceiling heights and are not laid out for our type of work. There are columns in the middle of the studio spaces.’

The project creates two landscaped courtyards, one for business and residential occupants, the other for public access to the canal and a new café. Materials include two colours of brick and Cor-ten steel cladding.



Client: Swansea University

Architect: AHR

Total area: 7,400m2

Planning authority: Neath & Port Talbot County Borough Council

Planning ref: P2016/0383

AHR has gained planning permission for a building on Swansea University’s new Bay campus, funded with £17M from the European Regional Development Fund and intended to create a world-class facility for cutting-edge computational study. The Computational Foundry building will contain research and development laboratories, postgraduate and research areas as well as teaching, networking and socialising space.


The building will be split into four-storey east and six-storey west wings connected by a glazed central atrium. A double height ground floor area will accommodate two lecture theatres. The main feature of the elevations will be the ground floor colonnade topped by vertical brick piers, creating a regular pattern of recessed windows. The new faculty is set to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating.

The proposal was designed in collaboration with advisors from the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community to provide a backdrop to Tennant Place, the heart of the university. 



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