A good start to 2014

KUNG HEI FAT CHOY!!!! (Happy Chinese New Year)



May the year of Horse brings you good health and prosperity in the coming year.


As the title of this post suggested, it has a very good start for our practice in 2014.  Reflecting from the hard work we carried out towards the latter part of last year, four of our schemes have successfully obtained planning permissions.

At the village of Harby, north of Melton Mowbray of Leicestershire, we have been working on a scheme to provide a series of retirement bungalows on a former farm yard. Design work commenced back in 2012, the final approved design include 4no. two bedroom bungalows and 1no. three bedroom bungalow. To reflect the former use of the site, the units are designed into two courtyards – having reference of crew yards and barns.


Further afield in Nottinghamshire, formerly known as the Hardy and Hanson Brewery in Kimberley, we have been involved with three parcels of the original brewery complex – the Stables, Kimberley West Station and 4&6 Hardy Street since the beginning 0f 2013. They are all conversion projects and all received planning approval over the last few weeks.

The Stables were last used as a series of offices to the brewery with the upper floor being used as three apartments.  The design concept encompassed to minimise the amount of structural alteration to the existing structure whilst maintaining the significant features that provides the essence towards the mass and the outlook of the original building. The final approved proposal allows for the conversion of the structure into 5no. dwelling houses.

31b proposed_stables


Kimberley West Station was designed by Charles Trubshaw – one of the major railway architects of the late 1880s. The railway ceased passenger traffic in 1917 and goods by the 1950s. The building was then used as the Kimberley ex-Servicemen Club and also Kimberley Social Club; during which it was extended and modified from its original footprint. We carried out our research and our proposal aim to remove the late 60s additions, expose once again some of the original elevational treatment, convert and extend to form 2no. two bedroom bungalows.


11c proposed station building

4 & 6 Hardy Street was originally a pair of semi-detached two storeys dwellings. During the time of Hardy and Hanson Brewery, it was connected  to the adjacent warehouse and converted for office use. Many of their original layout have been heavily modified. We managed to obtain historic records of the properties and our design concept was to revert the layout to more or less its original configurations.

21c proposed


Moving on to the rest of 2014, we continue to work on a couple of house extensions within the Leicester Evington region. We will continue to collaborate with our Sri Lanka partner and work on a hotel scheme within the tea plantation region in Sri Lanka. Our focus will also concentrate on the design of two new sports pavilions and a village hall extension in west Leicestershire. Further afield, we are also exploring development opportunities in the Far East with our partner over in Hong Kong. Please keep checking on our website, Facebook page, twitter page for future updates. If you are about to embark on a architectural project and would like to see what we have to offer, please do not hesitate to contact us.

One Year On – Allerton Visitor Centre

On 11th September 2013, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust celebrated their 1st anniversary of the opening of their Visitor Centre in Loddington, Leicestershire. It was an honor to be invited to attend this event to celebrate this milestone with the trust and their researching partners. It was fascinating to learn that not only do they research into farming techniques and ecology, they investigate so much further into details such as containers design and recycling schemes.


One of the areas that I am always keen to learn about this building is its statistics. Designed to be energy efficient, how has the building performed one year on in terms of its energy consumption and usage? Below is a quotation from Dr Alastair Leake – Director of Policy and the Allerton Trust who has been monitoring the annual energy consumption of the building:

‘…The heat meter which measures the quantity of heat produced by the wood chip fired central heating boiler indicates we have generated 56 Mw since the boiler was installed. To do this we have burnt 14.5 tonnes of wood, saving 5,588 litres of oil at a cost £3352, and cutting our CO2 by 13.8 tonnes. The boiler has also provided all the hot water for the building’s wash-basins.

 If we ignore the cost of extracting the timber, which forms part of woodland management, the chipping cost us £1,400 to produce 90 tonnes. This was also dried in the grain store, stored and transported to the hopper, all of which has some, but difficult to attribute cost. Purely based on chipping cost at £15/ tonne, our own produced fuel has cost us just £225. Had we purchased the chip from a wood fuel supplier then the equivalent cost for the tonnage used would have £1650, about half the oil equivalent cost.

The solar panels have generated 5930 kw of electrical power, saving us £711 compared to purchasing from the grid, and brought income through the Feed In Tariff payments have generated £2,490. This has reduced our CO2 emissions by 3.11 tonnes….’

In terms of usage, the visitor centre has welcomed almost 2,000 people since its opening, Visitors include policymaker from DEFRA, European executives from Coca-Cola, farmers, scientists and schoolchildren. The local branch of the Women’s Institute also use the building regularly for their meetings and functions. It was reported that some 140 events and briefings were delivered within its first year of opening and the trust are also confident that they will surpass 120 events in the calender year of 2013.

These are all extremely encouraging facts and figures. Following the last feature in the local press after winning the ProCon Susatainable Development Award 2012, the building was once again featured in the trade press of Architects DataFile in October 2013.


Last week, the trust have notified us and confirmed the launch of their new website with a dedicated page for the Visitor Centre. For more information about the Allerton Project and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, please visit their websites.

Sylvester Cheung

10November 2013




Work in progress


So, one month on, what have we been up to?

We continue to work on a number of residential extension project in the Evington and Oadby area of Leicester. Both of them are entering into their last stages of conceptual design and should be submitted for planning application in not too distance future.

The following months will be some exciting time for the practice too. We have been commissioned to work alongside a Sri Lanka architects practice on a resort hotel development in Sri Lanka. Closer to home, we have also been commissioned to design a holiday bungalow for an ongoing client in Great Yarmonth. Both of these projects are at very early design stages. Please keep checking our website and social media feeds for update.

We continue to support the Leicestershire and Rutland Prohelp. Over the next few months we will be supporting a few organisations in Leicestershire to provide them with some design ideas to improve their current community and / or leisure facilities. More details to follow.

Very exciting time ahead indeed!!!!

Sylvester Cheung 10 November 2013