In 2010, 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. More than 200 leading industry researchers and academic experts would be based at the centre, working together to progress new technologies through the design and laboratory phases and into production.
The client brief was to secure consent for 5,246sq m of B1(b) workshop space alongside 2,328 sq m of B1(a) 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 Alder King Planning Consultancy 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. Construction of the centre has now been completed with the site becoming fully operational in September 2011.