Green light for Leigh Court



Child Graddon Lewis (CGL) has successfully assisted client IDM Properties in securing planning consent for Leigh Court, part of the former G Plan factory. This marks a key milestone in the significant development of a 0.8ha site located in the Leigh Street Furniture District of High Wycombe.

Wycombe District Council (WDC) has approved plans with its counsellors, voicing excitement over the long-overdue development of this site and praising the design for its bold and striking industrial aesthetic and the sensitive juxtaposition of modern and historic architecture.

CGL’s role on Leigh Court has developed considerably since an initial appointment in 2004 to formulate proposals for Birch House, a historic commercial building on the site. After assisting WDC in establishing the Leigh Street Furniture Heritage Conservation Area in 2005, CGL was then commissioned to prepare a development brief for the wider area. This included a strategy for preserving and enhancing heritage assets in the form of a collection of Victorian industrial buildings, with historical elements playing a key part in the scheme’s formation. This formed part of WDC’s policy adopted in the Leigh Street Quarter Development Brief in 2008.

The team was also asked to include a strategy for preserving and enhancing heritage assets in the form of a collection of Victorian industrial buildings, with historical elements playing a key part in the scheme’s formation.
Altogether, CGL’s role has included masterplanning, urban design and consultation with key stakeholders, council departments and the wider public.

Matt Richardson, Land & Development at IDM Properties, comments: “We at IDM are of course delighted with the outcome of this planning application, a great result and a major next step in the delivery of Leigh Court.

“The partners at IDM are hugely grateful for the endless hours spent by everyone involved in order to ensure a positive response – not just from the council but also from members of the local community. I would like to thank CGL for creating what I consider to be a brilliant application on a site that has been years in the making.

"Among many highlights from the committee meeting, one in particular stood out when a councillor with 20 years at Wycombe District Council stated that the scheme was one of the most influential planning applications they had ever voted on.

“The work doesn’t end here however and we now look forward to the delivery of this site and the tremendous impact it will have on local residents and the surrounding area.”

Simon Child, director at CGL, comments: “The development of Leigh Court will be of significant public benefit and in line with the broader objectives of the councils, local people and businesses.

“Until recently, fragmented landownership has frustrated the potential for cohesive redevelopment of a historically important area of High Wycombe, blighted by years of neglect and economic decline.

“Working closely with IDM Properties, we’re thrilled to have created an exemplar project that acts as a catalyst for the regeneration of the wider area. Following the approval from Wycombe District Council, this re-development of the site will bring it into the twenty first century.”

Key features of the scheme are:

• The site is located in a deprived section of High Wycombe, on a sensitive junction between a multicultural, residential area and a lively, local shopping district. The site comprises a group of commercial buildings, some of which have been vacant for over 25 years.

• Birch House is remembered as the first ‘G Plan’ furniture factory in High Wycombe. It will be retained as a significant heritage asset and has provided inspiration for the architecture of the new interventions.

• The development will simultaneously form links between the adjacent currently disparate areas, and will create a desirable residential community within this post-industrial landscape, with an intention to kick-start the wider regeneration of the Leigh Street Furniture District.

• A total of 228 residential apartments will be provided in a range of existing and new buildings ranging from three to six storeys in height, along with generous cycle and car parking in basement and multi-storey accommodation.

• The arrangement of the six buildings on site is such that a new communal courtyard will be formed, providing a range of quiet and secure spaces for informal resident amenity.

• A high standard of energy and resource efficiency is to be met, alongside environmental street and public realm improvement, including providing a new public square, shared spaces and private areas to enhance the conservation area.

• The scheme included a significant contribution to WDC to help fund affordable purpose built workspace accommodation in the town.

• The densification through mixed use brings environmental, social, economic and historic benefit and critically assists the town trying to re-establish its identity in the 21st Century.

Wycombe District Council voted to grant planning consent at a meeting of its Planning Committee on 18th October 201, subject to the signing of a Section 106 agreement.

For more information about the scheme, please click here

02final-59f04d9a75647.jpg (News / Person 2 column)

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