These are the plans designed by Andrew Yeats of Eco Arc, which have been granted permission by DMBC.
The proposed site development boundary (shown in red on the application drawings) encompasses an area of 2,712m2. The proposed community centre is approximately 20m long x 16m wide and will provide 285m2 of useable floor space including storage cupboards off the hall spaces.
This is just over 3 times larger than the existing hall and store – but that facility is a gross under provision and has no disabled facilities. The proposed building is entirely single storey which is appropriate for this type of building even though it results in the footprint being larger than for a 2 storey building and it points towards a more horizontally proportioned building. All rooms will have disabled access. By breaking the roof line the massing is broken down which has the benefit of maximizing the view of the trees to the west boundary of the site and the Grade 1 Church of St Lawrence beyond.
The layout has been devised to work with several existing site constraints and requirements, including its sensitive historic context adjacent to the Church of St Lawrence, houses on Vicarage Close, existing trees, existing root protection zones and existing foot paths as well as the High Street. The site and building layout is clear and straightforward to provide sensible organisation easy to understand by all visitors.
The scale of the proposed single story development provides an appropriate level of accommodation within a minimal footprint size – there are no oversized areas of the building. Although the scale of the building is clearly significantly bigger than the existing undersized facility, the scale has been broken down with a split roof system to reduce the bulk and visual impact of the whole, particularly in relation to the Church of St Lawrence and the new houses on Vicarage Close. For a building of this use the size cannot be any smaller – there is no extravagance in the scale of the building. By siting the building in the proposed position the view of the church from the houses on Vicarage Close is mainly protected and the new building does not compromise the privacy/overlooking of the houses.
The current building has come to the end of its natural life. It is visually more like low key outbuildings than a facility which is central to the Community it serves. The proposed contemporary building will be a significant improvement upon the current building in terms of the feel of the Conservation Area as well as in terms of function - providing a visually appealing and well-designed building and external spaces to accommodate the current and future needs of the Community.
The siting, size, massing and materials of the building have evolved in response to the need to retain the dominance of the Church of St Lawrence Tower, enhance the character of the Conservation Area, respond to the scale and materials of the surrounding buildings, protect the existing trees and tree root protection zones, carefully consider changes to the existing brick boundary wall, respond to feedback from the Conservation Officer and the Highways Department and provide the level of facilities and parking appropriate to a 21st Century Community Building.
It uses natural building materials and colours within a human scale which relate to the materials and buildings found in its immediate vicinity whilst still being a building which embodies its 21st Century period. In the same way as many of the historic buildings in the Conservation Area are relatively simple forms, using natural materials which respond directly to the materials, needs and skills of the period. This building does the same whilst also ensuring it relates to and enhances the quality of the Conservation Area.
The proposed materials include natural slate to the edge of the roof facing the High Street with integrated solar tiles to the infill (illustrated below) similar in colour to the natural slate roofs found on many surrounding buildings in the Conservation Area generally, visually quiet/receding natural lime render walls which relates in tone and colour to the Church tower beyond, and naturally stained timber clad walls to the higher level between clerestory windows. All the proposed walling materials are traditional and mellow with age.
The proposals are compliant with national planning policies and local Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council policies. We and Andrew our architect see the sensitive site as an opportunity to demonstrate a viable way forward in which we can live and work sustainably utilizing the on-site renewable energy resources of the sun and the below ground heat of the earth available locally to deliver a exemplar carbon neutral facility for the benefit of the whole community.
Our proposed sustainable approach is in line with:
No other project we are aware of in the Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council region, seems to come close to meeting, let alone exceeding, the targets and recommendations above, and this carbon neutral application would be a positive exemplar demonstration project of National significance.
Over the years Eco Arc Chartered Architects have developed a reputation for delivering high quality innovative ecological designs on time and to budget. The enclosed summary outlines recent awards, which includes both national and international recognition for our commitment to ecological design of the highest standards.
Awards received include the ‘‘Queens Award’ for Enterprise in the Sustainable Development’’ based on a nomination and recommendation from the Prime Minister. Also the ‘‘International Green Apple Award’ for Architecture, Heritage and the Environment’’ for the National Trust’s Centre for Sustainability at Gibson Mill in Hebden Bridge. Eco arc have also recently won two further national design awards'' Best UK Sustainable Building Award '' and ‘’Royal Institute of British Architects White Rose Award for Sustainability.’’