Alder King Planning Consultants were instructed by the South West Regional Development Agency to secure consent for a bespoke National Composites Research Centre (NCRC). The NCRC was to be an independent, open-access facility for the design and rapid manufacture of high-quality composite products with more than 2,000 leading industry researchers and academic experts based at the centre.
The brief was to secure 5,246 sq m of B1(b) workshop space alongside 2,328 sq m of B1(b) office space. However, as a national centre, the building had to be of an exemplar standard of design, with the client specifically requesting that the building attain a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating. The project was further complicated by virtue of highly restrictive timelines, with only six weeks being available to identify an appropriate design and planning strategy prior to submitting the planning application.
To ensure compliance with the project brief, a close working relationship with the LPA was established, facilitating extensive pre-application negotiations which enabled a better understanding of site specific constraints and also the Council’s aspirations for the site. With this information we were able to co-ordinate a multi-disciplinary consultant team tasked with undertaking targeted site investigations and alternative design scenarios which informed the final planning submission.
Full planning consent was secured subject to only standard planning conditions. Work at the greenfield site commenced immediately and the NCRC became operational in Spring 2011.
Phases II & III
We were instructed by Bristol University to secure consent for phases II & III of the bespoke National Composites Centre. Both appointments were made in part given Alder King’s success in achieving planning consent for Phase I.
Phase II: The brief was to secure consent for a mix of B1(b) workshop B1(a) office and D1 academic floor space. We co-ordinated the multi-disciplinary consultant team and successfully secured planning consent subject to only standard planning conditions.
Phase III (Wing of Tomorrow): A 6,000 sq m extension (use class B1b) was required to create a new workshop allowing for scientific research into the design and manufacture of prototype wings for the next generation of single aisle aircraft. We co-ordinated the preparation and submission of a planning application, which was successfully approved. As part of this process, we also held discussions with the Council to set out proposals for further future extensions to the facility.
We were instructed by the National Composites Centre consent for a fourth phase of development at the facility. Once again, the appointment was made, in part, due to our local knowledge and success in securing previous planning consents at the site.
This time the brief was to secure consent for an extension to the NCC for the housing and installation of new technical machinery to allow the NCC to increase capacity and continue to undertake scientific aerospace research and development. The planning application was approved in early 2019 subject to compliance only conditions.
Due to the restrictive time constraints and the immediate need for the extension to be delivered, negotiations with the Council saw the application approved in early 2019 with minimal compliance only conditions attached to the consent which allowed for work to commence shortly after.