89 Billericay High Street Planning submission

March 15, 2024

The site, 89 The High Street, Billericay, comprises a 19th-century, redbrick two-storey building with a chamfered corner entrance, decorative brickwork and sash windows, all typical for commercial premises from this era, plus a single-storey, flat-roof extension to the rear, built within the last century, to provide additional commercial space.

Our designs preserve the frontage of the main building in its entirety, an important consideration given the historic flavour of the High Street, which forms the core of the Billericay Conservation Area. The main building is not listed, despite its prominent position, but several of its closest neighbours are, including two 18th-century timber-framed houses and St. Mary Magdalene Church with its 15th-century tower.

In our proposal, we retain the ground floor of the main building as 173m2 of commercial space and modify the layout of the first floor to create two apartments accessible from the rear. We take the existing single-storey extension at the rear and raise it one floor,  adding a gable end roof, new windows along the ground floor on both sides and recess the mass in places to create private amenities and maximise the availability of daylight and sunlight. In both the main building and the rear extension, the first-floor apartments are enlarged with mezzanines in the roof space, featuring roof lights for increased daylight access.

At the rear of the site, we have proposed the construction of two three-storey, three-bedroom houses, carefully sited and shaped to minimise the appearance of mass and sit comfortably in their local context. Our design for the houses employs slates, white weatherboarding and dark grey brick as external materials to give them harmony with the surrounding architecture without comprising their modern and elegant presentation.

We believe this proposal represents an excellent opportunity to restore much-needed commercial space to Billericay's commercial district and create nine sought-after new homes in a range of sizes suitable for families, young couples and single people.

Our designs have been created with sustainability, efficiency and the quality of the built environment in mind. By refurbishing and extending the main building, rather than demolishing and building anew, the designs capitalise on the carbon emissions already embodied in the structure and conserve the historical frontage.

Both the main building and the new houses will have a facility for the installation of solar panels and water collection, together with ample cycle storage to encourage greater sustainability gains now and in the future.