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BBLBnews / Issue 11 / Spring 2012

Vision / Commitment / Skills & Expertise / Delivery


The Innovation Centre, Walsall Localism Bill becomes Law James Brindley Wharf, Stourport on Severn My Place, Walsall Building Schools for the Future in Leicester National Planning Policy Framework Muchall Grove, Wolverhampton Earlsdon Park, Coventry

Localism Bill becomes Law The Localism Act takes power from central government and hands it back to local authorities and communities - delivering on more than 30 coalition agreement commitments. Five key features of the Bill are:

Community rights New community rights will ensure that community organisations have a fair chance to bid to take over land and buildings that are important to them. Every town, village or neighbourhood has buildings that play a vital role in local life. Using new community rights, local community and voluntary bodies, and parish councils, will be able to identify land and buildings that are important to them.

Neighbourhood Planning New rights will allow local communities to shape new development by coming together to prepare neighbourhood plans. As it currently stands, the planning system doesn’t give local communities enough influence over decisions that make a big difference to their lives. New rights in the Localism Act will mean local people can decide where new homes and businesses should go, and what they should look like.

Housing The Localism Act will mean that more decisions about housing are taken locally, and the system is fairer and more effective. Councils

will get the flexibility to better manage their housing stock by adapting to meet local needs.

Empowering cities and other local areas The Localism Act enables Ministers to transfer public functions to local authorities in order to improve local accountability or promote economic growth.

General power of competence The general power of competence will give councils the green light to work in innovative ways, allowing them to take action and get on with things they think will benefit their local area. “For too long, local people were held back and ignored because Whitehall

thought it knew best. That is changing for good. Councils have their General Power of Competence and residents

have a real power over decisions like council tax, town hall pay, planning, community buildings or local services.”

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities

For further details about the Bill, please visit the Department for Communities and Local Government website:

Building Quality Award - The Orchard

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The London Festival of Architecture is a city-wide celebration of architecture and architectural talent in the UK capital. It brings architects and communities together to examine how we make London a better place. The theme of the 2012 Festival ‘The Playful City’ – responds to the presence in London of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Everyone is invited to join the Festival community, to develop projects to take part in debates; to investigate ways that London can be made a better place to live, work and play; to explore the city through guided walks and bike rides and to examine change in the capital in a celebratory way. Further information is available at:


Social Housing

Congratulations to the West Midlands New Build team who have recently won the “Built in Quality Award” at the West Midlands Constructing Excellence Awards for “The Orchard” new build project in Erdington. The award was given to the team for excellence in quality, working relationships and performance on this project. The development was completed in September 2011 and reached code level 4. It currently provides accommodation to those who are homeless or living in a hostel and also provides rooms

London Festival of Architecture

and facilities for training courses, offices and a multi faith prayer room. The Orchard was chosen out of thousands of applicants to win this prominent award and was nominated by building consultancy surveyors across the region. The award ceremony will take place at the ICC Birmingham on the 6th July 2012 Well done to the Project Manager, Mike Crawley and the site team for their hard work and contribution throughout the development.

Welcome to the Spring Issue of BBLB News, we hope that you will enjoy reading this issue. In addition to pieces about BBLB and our projects we have also included articles about topical subjects which we hope will be of interest to you. If anyone else in your organisation would like to receive a copy please let us know. If there is anything you would like more details on, or you are interested to find out more about how BBLB could assist you with current or upcoming projects, please call John Bradshaw on telephone: 01384 880550.

The Old Library, Hagley Road Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 1QH Telephone: +44 (0)1384 880 550

Health Care

The Innovation Centre, Walsall Currently the United Kingdom’s first building of this type. The Innovation Centre is a facility for 14-19 year old persons specialising in the Health and Social Wellbeing Diplomas. Whilst the concept idea exists in other locations this will be the first purpose built facility in the country. Built on the site of the Alumwell Business and Enterprise College, this 20,000 sq ft development will deliver the needs of the College providing opportunities to enhance the curriculum in personal, social & relationship education. The Innovation Centre will offer learners opportunities to develop enterprise, IT, personal, learning and thinking skills through ‘Hands on Health’ experiences, vivid simulations which replicate real life situations in health and social care.

The Facility The development was won by BBLB architects LLP in 2010 with official handover scheduled for February 2012. The project is a £5.5m steel frame structure built by Willmott Dixon. The building can accommodate up to 200 students and offers a range of different learning environments from formal teaching spaces through to flexible studio spaces all of which are served from a central atrium with break out spaces and a learning resource centre acting as the heart of the building. The 2

storey atrium with bridge links at first floor level is served by a series of north-lights maximising the use of natural light within the building creating flexible space. The building also incorporates amongst others a lecture theatre and a 2 storey ‘Domiciliary’ replicating a real house giving the user/learner the familiarity of working within the home environment.

The Design BBLB architects LLP worked very closely with the client, stakeholders and the whole design team which has helped to identify the client preferences for an ideal education facility and more specifically, establish the design priorities for The Innovation Centre. The outcomes of which have reinforced some key design principals such as the importance of naturally light and vented teaching spaces, with the delivery of a contemporary building. Since the original concept inception, the designs have been developed in consultation with the clients and stakeholders. The creation is a contemporary building standing distinctively within the community. The building has achieved BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) ‘very good’ providing a building which uses sustainable materials from environmentally responsible sources. The Innovation Centre

uses a very simple palette of materials from terracotta block work through to the rainscreen cladding fronting the highway. The zinc clad drum forming the auditorium and ground to roof curtain-walling creates a striking entrance for users to the facility. The design also benefits from a brise soleil which wraps around part of the building envelope acting as solar shading. Consideration of the orientation of the building will also help minimise the heat gain during summertime periods.

Our Service As a building process the development was built using the SCAPE framework a Partnership Scheme between Walsall MBC and Willmott Dixon. Under a ‘design and build’ contract, BBLB architects LLP were appointed providing consultant services and lead coordination of the design consultants giving a full architectural service for this new, exciting and striking building which will benefit the local community. ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ ƒƒ

Client – Walsall MBC Contractor – Willmott Dixon Architect – BBLB architects LLP Structural and Civil Engineers – CTM Mechanical and Electrical Consultants – Waterman Group

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Industry News

Government Loses Appeal Over Solar Cuts The Court of Appeal has unanimously rejected Government attempts to overturn last month’s High Court ruling that its plans to rush through sudden cuts to solar tariff payments are illegal. The Government is now seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. Friends of the Earth says the move will create yet more uncertainty for solar firms and after two courts have ruled their move illegal is urging Ministers to concentrate on safeguarding the industry rather than wasting more time and money on further appeals. The High Court ruled shortly before Christmas that Government plans to cut payments for any solar scheme completed after 12 December 11 days before the official consultation closed - were unlawful. The judgement followed legal challenges brought by Friends of the Earth and two solar firms, Solarcentury and HomeSun, last month. The judgement will prevent Ministers rushing through cuts to feed-in tariff payments in future, restoring some confidence to the UK’s clean energy industry. But Friends of the Earth warns that unless Ministers change other parts of their solar subsidy proposals, up to 29,000 jobs could be lost. Friends of the Earth is urging Ministers to find more money - paid for from tax payments

the industry generates - to safeguard the long-term stability of the solar industry. The environmental campaigning charity is also calling for crucial amendments to proposed Government solar payment changes, including re-examining over-strict energy efficiency rules that will prevent 90 per cent of houses from claiming solar subsidies. The ruling means that, subject to any further appeal to the Supreme Court, solar tariff payments will remain at 43.3p (p/kWh) until 3 March 2012 when – following Government moves last week – they will fall to 21 pence. FoE’s Executive Director, Andy Atkins said: “This landmark judgement confirms that devastating Government plans to rush through cuts to solar payments are illegal – and will prevent Ministers from causing industry chaos with similar cuts in future. “The Government must now take steps to safeguard the UK’s solar industry and the 29,000 jobs still facing the chop. Ministers must abandon plans to tighten the screw on which homes qualify for solar payments – and use the massive tax revenues generated by solar to protect the industry. “Helping more people to plug into clean British energy will help protect cash-strapped households from soaring fuel bills.” Source:


Muchall Grove, Wolverhampton Planning application submitted on behalf of David Wilson Homes for the residential development of the former Day Care Centre at Muchall Grove, Penn, Wolverhampton. Following pre-application consultation with the Council, the scheme comprising eight 4 and 5 bedroomed detached houses set in a mature landscaped site accessed from Muchall Grove. The Clients shared vision for the site was to create an attractive courtyard

It is anticipated that subject to Planning comments, works will commence on site later this year. development which would reinforce the local character area and enhance the landscaped setting and local environment.

National Planning Policy Framework The Government has recently published a National Planning Policy Framework, which replaces over 1,300 pages of guidance with just 59. From a developer’s perspective, there is much to be encouraged by in the NPPF with the positive attitude adopted to economic and housing development. However, it will be interesting to see how the Localism aspects evolve, as local communities engage in producing Neighbourhood Plans and seeking to shape development according to local agendas. A selection of headlines include: ƒƒ Presumption in favour of sustainable development is a “golden thread “ running through plan-making and decision-taking ƒƒ When writing plans LPA’s should positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area ƒƒ When making decisions LPA’s should approve proposals which accord with the development plan without delay ƒƒ Permission should be granted where the development plan is absent, silent or relevant policies are out of date ƒƒ The planning system must be plan-led and plans must be kept up-to-date ƒƒ LPA’s with plans adopted since 2004 will be given 12 months to get them up-to-date ƒƒ Emerging plans will be given due weight according to their stage of preparation ƒƒ Economic growth in both urban and rural areas is a priority ƒƒ Brownfield sites must be developed ahead of greenfield sites The NPPF is also informative in considering those documents it has not replaced. For example; whilst all the principle PPS’s and circular 05/2005 have been replaced, it is silent on the issue of the status of the ‘Practice Guidance on Planning for Town Centres’ that accompanied PPS 4, the ‘Companion Guide to PPG17’, the Dear Chief Planning Officer letter, that followed the 2011 budget entitled Planning for Growth 31stMarch 2011 and all of the Regional Plans, which must surely be revoked soon. All of these continue to exist as material considerations it would appear. Overall, it would appear that the NPPF has been watered down slightly, for example, the 20% housing land supply additional buffer reduced to 5% and the 12 month period allowed for local plans to be up-dated, it is clear that this document is a direct descendant of ‘Planning for Growth’ and the presumption in favour of sustainable development is at the heart of the planning system for the foreseeable future. Source:

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My Place, Walsall Walsall Council has marked the opening of their new My Place Centre. Councillor Bird was joined by other council representatives and the young persons group representing those who will use the centre and have been involved throughout the design process. My Place will provide a welcoming venue at which young people from the whole of Walsall will be able to enjoy a variety of activities within an inclusive and engaging environment. The building will cater for young people between the ages of 13-19 generally, and up to 25 for those with learning difficulties or disabilities. The proposals have been developed in close consultation with stakeholders, including representatives of various local youth groups, who have consequently had direct input into both the design of their building and the facilities and activities that it offers. Facilities include Business & Training space, an Arts

and Crafts Room, Music Room, Chill-Out Area, Training Kitchen, Activity Room, and Health and Counselling Clinic set around a double-height flexible atrium that offers informal meeting and social space as well as a café area. The building’s integration into the surrounding landscape has been key and a variety of external

Stakeholder Consultation

terraces and courtyard spaces including a performance area encourage outdoor activity. The greenhouse, allotments and garden area also help to promote concepts of healthy living, and the external landscaping scheme enhances biodiversity and provides a variety of stimulating external spaces. The young people involved with the scheme have been able to follow the progression of the scheme’s design and construction, giving a real sense of ownership and belonging. The exciting and creative design of the building aims to inspire the young people of Walsall to get involved and to foster a strong sense of community. The building made use of funding from the Big Lottery’s ‘My Place’ programme and achieves a ‘Very Good’ Breeam rating with a variety of sustainability credentials including passive measures such as natural light and ventilation.


Building Schools for the Future in Leicester Leicester was one of the first areas in the country to become part of Building Schools for the Future BSF and has now entered the next phase of its programme. Through BSF Leicester City Council has been awarded more than £235 million to rebuild or remodel every secondary school in the city. This will provide a 21st century learning environment that will help engage and inspire pupils, staff and people in the community. Leicester City Council and its partners have recently launched their vision to

transform Leicester into Britain’s Sustainable City over the next 25 years. BSF and the associated strategy for change are an important element in their delivery plan. Strategy for change sets out the vision for secondary education and the plans for investment through the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. BBLB architects are working with Miller Construction the Construction partner to Leicester City Council on phase two to six of the BSF programme which includes seven schools with a collective value of £50 million. The new £16 million Rushey Mead School a design and build project under phase two of the programme and is due to be completed in May 2013. The new school built on the existing playing fields will benefit from over 8000 square metres of new build, a six court sports hall and enhanced teaching facilities.

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Mixed use

James Brindley Wharf, Stourport on Severn A £7 million plan to regenerate the heart of a Midland town has been launched. The proposed mixed-use redevelopment, to be known as James Brindley Wharf, is intended to turn Stourport-on-Severn’s Bridge Street into a new pedestrian gateway to the canal basins, linking it to the popular Riverside Meadows area. The consultation event was hosted by Clive Fletcher Developments, Thomas Vale Construction, BBLB Architects, Walton Hipkiss and Wright Silverwood at the Stourport Yacht Club and saw more than 80 local stakeholders attend. Tony Hyde, group managing director of Stourport-based contractor Thomas Vale, said the redevelopment is going to give more back

to the community than just building. He said: “The support for the development has been outstanding and this project launch is the first of many consultation events which are due to take place. The project has the opportunity to offer training and apprenticeships to local youngsters, boost the economic district through heightened disposable income spend and will drive traffic back into the town centre including tourism. It is astounding to see so many local companies and public sector partners driving a project which will hugely benefit future generations to come.” Stuart Buckley, development manager for the HCA Midlands, added: “We are pleased to have appointed Clive Fletcher Developments and Thomas Vale to develop this site, which will

reconnect Stourport. This scheme will enhance the commercial and leisure offer for the town and provide a high quality canal side scheme. It will create demand for homes and jobs and boost local economic growth.” The scheme is being backed by Wyre Forest District Council, the Homes and Communities Agency, British Waterways and is part of the council’s wider ReWyre regeneration initiative, and overall vision for transforming the town into a successfull and vibrant place to live, work and visit. Following the consultation process it is hoped the Planning Application will be submitted in the Spring of 2012, and work expected to commence on-site in the Autumn.

Industry News

HCA welcomes key role in delivering housing aspirations The Homes and Communities Agency has welcomed its vital role in delivering the Governments Housing Strategy. The Housing Strategy introduces new support to tackle supply and demand issues by unlocking stalled sites and providing first time buyers with easier access to finance. The Housing Strategy announced the £400m Get Britain Building Investment Fund. This programme to be managed by the HCA will aim to unlock up to 16000 homes installed sites and boast the economy with an additional £50m allocated on top of the £100m already confirmed to tackle the worst concentrations of empty homes bringing vacant properties back into use. Support will also be available for private rent development, taking forward funding to support self build projects.

The HCA’s continuing role in delivering the strategy includes: ƒƒ Increasing the amount and speeding up the delivery of public land for development, getting new developments underway and boosting local economies through their land disposal strategy. ƒƒ Investing £1.8m through the Affordable Homes programme to build up to 80,000 new homes and up to 170,00 through their overall combined investment. ƒƒ Providing guidance to help communities build affordable homes through access to the Affordable Homes programme. ƒƒ Delivering affordable housing which will enable social housing providers to reinvest in building homes and giving greater flexibility.

Building Sustainability White Paper The white paper provides full analysis of the impact of the proposed changes to Part L Building Regulations due to come into force in 2013. The White Paper includes: ƒƒ Full analysis of the impact of changing government policy on clients and developers ƒƒ In depth examination of the business case for investing in sustainable buildings ƒƒ Advice on future proofing new building portfolios ƒƒ Extensive survey of occupiers in association with Core Net revealing priorities and budgets for sustainability improvements ƒƒ In depth survey of developers in partnership with the British on Property Federation revealing sustainability priorities on new and existing buildings ƒƒ Key information on what developers are looking for from their supply chains Source:

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Building Magazine, March 2012


Earlsdon Park, Coventry BBLB undertook the Masterplan for the former Technical College site in Earlsdon, Coventry known as Earlsdon Park. The first phase was a BREEAM ‘excellent’ office development and multi-storey car park together with a social housing development which was completed in 2009. Phase 2 has recently been completed which included the conversion of the existing 1930’s Art Deco building to provide 2 floors of commercial office space and hotel reception + café bar and with a 100 bed hotel for Premier Inn on the upper 2 floors which included the addition of a lightweight storey to the existing building. The additional ‘top box’ was designed

to reduce the visual impact of the new structure as much as possible, by keeping its height low and building line recessed as much as possible so as no to impact on the existing facades. Careful consideration was given to the material choices to compliment the existing stone and brickwork building. The layout was planned to remove existing unsightly roof plant and screen new roof top plant areas and ductwork while providing a simple contemporary architectural language that responds to existing building’s appearance yet does not conflict or compete with it.

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BBLB INhouse

Left to Right: Adam Wright JLR, Keren Jones Wolverhampton CC, Phil Beale FBE, Alan Edwards JLR, David Storer Arup

Black Country and Telford FBE focus on Procurement Opportunities and Jaguar Land Rover I54 Plant The recent Black Country and Telford Forum for the Built Environment event held at the Copthorne Hotel, Merry Hill focused on the Black County Enterprise Zone set to become a leading location of advanced manufacturing for the automotive and aerospace industries generating significant employment and supply chain opportunities. Alan Edwards and Adam Wright of Jaguar Land Rover presented an overview of the strategic thinking behind the decision to select i54 Business Park Wolverhampton for New Engine Plant Development which is expected to take up to two years to complete. David Storer of Arups outlined the design approach for the New Plant and Keren Jones,

Assistant Director Partnerships Economy and Culture, Wolverhampton City Council outlined how the Public Sector would work with the Business Community to help maximise procurement opportunities. JLR also have the option to take extra space at the i54 site within the Black County Enterprise Zone if it was needed. There is space for a second plant of equivalent size to be built to the South of the first phase. Wolverhampton City Council’s Assistant Director for Partnership and Economy Keren Jones said the Partnership of Local Authorities and business organisations working with JLR would be helping to develop the construction supply chain.

Staff Profiles

Mark Cowley Associate

Favorite piece of Architecture? There is no one building, but I love Richard Meier’s Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, Cesar Manrique’s, Mirador Del Rio in Lanzarote and I would love to visit Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim museum in Bilbao Project you have most enjoyed? Little Sutton Primary School despite being one of the smaller projects I have worked on recently has to be the most enjoyable as it is so personal to me and to my children. There is no harder client to please than your own children and their friends as they tell it as it is. I am delighted to say that they, the school and the governors are delighted with our efforts.

BBLB architects - CHAS Accreditation BBLB Architects llp have successfully completed CHAS (Contractors Health & Safety Assesment Scheme) Accreditation. The scheme which is the fastest

growing Health & Safety scheme in the UK has 44,000 suppliers on its Database and is recognised as the benchmark for Health & Safety by many leading Contractors.

BBLB Project Updates Robin Rigg, Workington Port

Work has recently started on site at the Robin Rigg O & M building in Workington Port. The proposed works entail internal alterations to form parts storage and on shore/off shore staff locker areas on the ground floor, with new office and meeting rooms on the first floor. The Main Contractor for the alteration works is Thomas Armstrong Ltd, the same Contractor that built the original building 3 years ago.

Midland Heart

Planning Consents granted for affordable housing on behalf of Midland Heart on sites in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry. Works are due to commence in the first and second quarters 2012.

Malinslee Health Centre, Telford

Tenders have been returned for a new surgery at Malinslee in Telford. Contractors are due to be appointed and works commenced on site in the near future.

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Doug Brown Architect

Favourite piece of Architecture? I have always appreciated the work of Richard Murphy Architects and admire their very simple and effective architectural solutions. Their residential development in County Mayo involved the positioning of housing on a prominent site located behind the historic town centre of Westport. The development is a very simple yet effective scheme that maximises its sites location whilst delivery contemporary and flexible living spaces. Project you have most enjoyed? I think any project that leaves the client with a building that meets and exceeds their expectations is ultimately an enjoyable project. Worcester Bosch reception works, completed spring 2011, was enjoyable and although the construction phase was full of changes, amendments and additions to the clients original brief that meant a lot of effort and hard work from all involved I think the end result, and the praises that it has since received, clearly shows it was worth it and an ultimate success.

BBLB News Issue 11  

Latest edition of BBLB News Issue 11, including a feature on the the Innovation Centre, Wallsall, a facility for 14-19 year old persons spec...