Case Study

Reducing complexity – increasing money in the bank

How we improved the profitability of a challenging project in a Conservation area - and won the praise of the local civic society.


High Street, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.

We simplified a complex housing scheme, creating a much more attractive development of 4 new 2-bed cottages that went on to sell for double the expected amount!

The Challenges
  • Planning was in place, but for a complex scheme of 4 flats that would be expensive to build and not in keeping with the local conservation area. There was also no on-site parking or bin storage possible.
  • The site had a large drain (culvert) running nearby, an old well within the planned footprint of the new building, and lots of archaeological history.
Our Approach

A builder who had purchased this project from a local agent bought us in to assist.

After a careful review of the previous plans, we concluded that it would be much better to build 4 new cottages (rather than 4 flats). They would be larger than the flats and have private gardens, making them more valuable and attractive to buyers. They would be simpler and cheaper to build. And they would be more in-keeping with the village, making the development a much more appealing prospect.

We had a detailed discussion with the builder and, because of our long relationship together, they trusted our judgement that the new scheme would be more profitable – despite some extra cost and delay in seeking the new planning permission. New designs were produced and, after a few adjustments, planning consent was granted.

The new permission accepted that no on-site parking would be provided (as many local amenities are within a short walking distance), and bin storage would be on the public verge. And the local civic society (Westbury-on-Trym Society) praised the improved scheme for its compatibility with the Conservation Area.

We went on to produce the technical construction details and approvals (Building Regulations) for the builder, including a Construction Management Plan that used a portion of the road for storage because the site was so restricted. We also ensured archaeologists monitored site excavation work in case of potential historical discoveries.

The Outcome
The builder, who was developing this site using our professional design expertise, was delighted with the final value. Under the original scheme, the estimated value of each flat was £175,000 but ended up selling the four cottages for £350,000 – £365,00 each!