ARMSTRONG RIGG PLANNING

Bluecoats, Hertford

Site: Hertford

Client: Bluecoats Joint Venture

Bluecoats, Hertford

Working alongside a team of consultants, ARP advised Bluecoats Joint Venture on the planning strategy to secure full planning permission and listed building consent for the change of use from office use to luxury residential apartments of two Grade II listed buildings within the grounds of the former Christ’s Hospital School (better known as Bluecoats School) in Hertford.

In response to difficulties in securing commercial tenants for the two buildings, which form part of a group of eight Grade II Listed former school dormitory buildings, the successful proposals sought their conversion to provide a total of twelve apartments, comprising a mix of one, two and three beds. The proposals also involved alterations to the external facades of the buildings and internal alterations to facilitate the proposed change of use. Working closely with the Council’s Conservation and Heritage officers it was possible to agree those works to ensure that a viable balance was struck between preserving and enhancing the historic character of the buildings and providing scope for sufficient levels of internal living space and privacy for each proposed dwelling.

As a site in existing employment use, policies presumed against the change of use of the buildings to non-employment uses. However, in view of a demonstrable lack of demand from the market it was possible to successfully demonstrate to the Council that the improvements that would result to the buildings, their setting and special architectural and historic interest, were sufficient to outweigh that policy presumption and that the change of use was justified.