NewStarts is a Christian community re-use social enterprise, based in Bromsgrove, north Worcestershire whose core activity is to provide free or low cost furniture, emergency food supplies and training to local families and individuals who are in need. The main arm and a source of income for the charity is the furniture provision.
Due to business growth, expansion was needed for the Head Office, in particular warehouse and showroom space for the furniture.
As a charity with limited funds, an innovative solution to expand and refurbish the existing premises was required.
Architecture, Civil & Structural Engineering, Building Services, Project Management, Principal Designer,
Having previously had difficulty in achieving planning permission, the client enlisted the expertise of One Creative Environments Ltd.’s (One) multi-disciplinary design and delivery services to produce a proposal for an extension and refurbishment which would achieve planning approval and prove best value for the charity.
Located within an industrial estate, the planning use class of the extension and operations was challenged by the Local Authority. Having the experience and knowledge, One were able to bring together the various parties to reach a mutual decision and help drive the application through the pre-application process and into a full planning submission.
This was achieved by clearer communication and a well thought out design with a phased approach. With restricted site space available the logical solution was to double the height and install a mezzanine storage area; creating a secondary level for warehouse use and a new large area to showcase the furniture to visitors. In addition, an extension to the front was proposed to provide a focal point and showcase area, alleviating other existing areas for enhanced staff and customer facilities.
As a charity, reducing maintenance and long term running costs are vital. The refurbishment also seeks to improve thermal performance where possible for the client; for instance replacing the windows for more efficient versions to help avoid losing unnecessary heat and energy.
The team diversity at One also enabled NewStarts to be supported from a funding point of view by offering One’s services to research into possible grants and funding streams which could help generate revenue for the charity.
The staging of work into phases to allow the charity to remain operational and the project to be completed with minimum disruption to employees and visitors.
Consultations with numerous stakeholders, board members, planners and general public were held to enable all parties to understand and be involved in a very community focused project. It also allowed all concerns to be considered and addressed accordingly.
Looking at how the client operates, its everyday flow and understanding the business was pivotal to the design. The mezzanine floor and extension made the best use of available space and gave the client the sufficient capacity needed, without the need for stretching the budget.
If ONE had not provided the solution to all stakeholders the charity would of undoubtedly had to relocate, which would be a large loss to the local community. Their understanding and interpretation of the client’s vision stems from the desire to fully emerge in a client’s operation and ability to effectively communicate verbally and visually.