Sublime in Shropshire

Sarah Hitchings, sales and marketing director of The Residence Collection, talks about the company’s latest conservation area case study in Bache Mills, Shropshire, which was fully supported by local planning officers and residents in the immediate area.

Shropshire is a unique area of the UK bordering with Wales boasting 127 conservation areas, and the Shropshire Hills within it are an area of outstanding national beauty.

These specific areas are designated for their special character – eg, historic and architectural character of buildings, settlement layout, and open spaces – and it’s where one of our most interesting projects has been carried out.

Situated at Hale Barns in Bache Mills, just six miles north east from Ludlow, has been a family farm that’s been run for three generations and that had a number of unused outbuildings that date back to the early 19th century. Prior to the start of the project back in 2018, these barns have non-designated heritage asset credentials, but the planning officers supported the proposed renovation as they wanted more people to move to the area.

There were a number of reasons for this including offering housing opportunities for local families, where their generations had long been associated with the immediate area, along with supporting the Corvedale Church of England Primary School, which had suffered from falling intakes over recent years. The planning proposal was also fully supported by the parish council for these reasons too and to help retain important local amenities and public services within the neighbouring area.

Local company Del Rebuilding was tasked with converting these old agricultural buildings and a Dutch barn into one and two bedroom apartments and homes that would be designated for the local rental market. When going through the planning process, and because the buildings were within the Diddlebury conservation area, the building company liaised closely with the planning department at Shropshire Council with designated officer Andy Johnson recommending the use of Residence 9 (R9) for the project conversion.

From the builder’s perspective, R9 offered the visual attributes of timber (including the appearance of mechanical joints), the same sightlines as 19th century casement windows, period-style hardware, dual heritage colours and supporting ancillaries.

From a property rental point of view, they have also provided a solution that requires no ongoing maintenance, is highly energy efficient with a U-value of 1.2W/m2K and satisfies the sustainability agenda, and from a company that has a zero-landfill standard.

Subsequently, Stedek Window and Doors was chosen as the manufacturing partner, thanks to its experience with similar projects and its relative locality, given its manufacturing facility in Walsall, West Midlands.

Project support was also provided by them for this unique case study, while the latest Timberweld manufacturing processes were used throughout, which provides a butt-jointed appearance inside and out.

The nature and design of all the barns were varied, and both Corse Lawn and Eclectic Grey external finishes were specified with a grained white interior and fully foiled rebate and featuring Residence pear drop handles in polished brass. The fact that The Residence Collection and R9 offers a range of unique single and dual colours is also a major feature of the product platform, particularly when compared with timber.

This unique project has already been entered into the West Midlands LABC awards, while the builders and landlords are also looking to renovate further buildings on the farm site and will be looking to harness R9 throughout. This is yet another example of The Residence Collection offering an alternative and arguably better solution to timber, while providing additional referral sales opportunities to our installation and manufacturing partners.

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