Friday, 4 May 2018

More local authority recognition for Larkfleet team

East Midlands Building Excellence Awards Larkfleet Homes
We have been shortlisted for a building excellence award for the second time in a week. We had already been shortlisted for the Local Authority Building Control East Anglia Building Excellence Awards in the category Best Low Volume New Housing Development for our Thorney Meadows development at Thorney near Peterborough.

Now we have been shortlisted for the best change of use of an existing building or conversion in the East Midlands Building Excellence Awards for our Langham Barns development at Barleythorpe near Oakham in Rutland.

This is great news for us because conversions and refurbishments are not something that the team at Larkfleet Homes normally gets involved with.

Judges were impressed by the way in which the site incorporates old and new, combining traditional building methods with state-of-the-art fixtures and fittings. It is a very subtle addition to the landscape, being glimpsed over an existing well-established hedge and an existing stone wall retained from a previously removed barn.

Langham Barns is an exclusive development of four contemporary bungalows, one of which is the original barn that has been restored.

The development was built to the highest standard of traditional craftsmanship with outstanding attention to detail. Designed with modern living in mind, the bungalows are spacious and well laid out, with top-of-the range fittings and fixtures.

Building control for all the homes on this site was provided by Rutland Council with which we have a long-standing working relationship within the town of Oakham. All the homes are fully compliant with Building Regulations. They also meet the requirements of the Design Code for Oakham North which on this site was monitored and enforced by Rutland County Council.

All the existing features of the original barn were retained in the conversion. It was in serious disrepair when we began work. The planning permission stated that the features had to be retained and then a new home had to be created that complied with current standards and building regulations.

The existing building featured high-arched windows which were reconstructed and made safe. They were almost identical to what had been in place previously. The conversion then set the design criteria for the three new builds. The main constraint on the development was the fact that this was a small and compact site. There were existing barns on the site. One was to be retained as a conversion and the others were to be demolished and removed.

The designs of the new properties were based on the existing barn style to give a feeling of similarity across the site. Materials closely matching the original construction materials were used. The planners were specific about this point – there was reconstituted dressed stone for the walls and Welsh slate for the roofs.

In terms of layout there were restrictions on the distance to the boundary lines between the properties to avoid issues with overlooking. We wanted to avoid a gap between the properties. Although all the properties are detached they are joined by roof flyovers to make the whole development look like a traditional farm yard.

As a ‘volume housebuilder’, restoration projects are unusual for us. A barn conversion is something that we don’t normally get involved in, so this was very much a ‘one-off’. We reckon it’s award-winning so watch this space!

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