Old Orchard


A lesson in perseverance.

The scenario

After seeing its redevelopment potential, Benjamin Allen purchased a run-down chalet bungalow in the South Downs National Park in 2018.

Pre application advice had already been given to another potential purchaser who wanted to extend the bungalow, but they eventually pulled out of the project. We decided to go ahead with the sale with a view to knocking the existing building down and replacing it with 2 new two-storey dwellings.

We were quickly approached by a neighbouring landowner who had been previously landlocked due to no access. Discussions began, and we agreed to enter into an option agreement to purchase the land.

Planning was then submitted in 2019 for 5 properties. Each of them had been individually designed with materials that were sympathetic to the village’s surroundings, including a mixture of brick, render and flint.

The challenge

The build certainly wasn’t easy, not least because the site was located in South Downs National Park, which has stringent planning requirements.

Additionally, while our designs were awaiting approval, the local authority created a new policy whereby affordable housing had to be provided, even on small developments. After lengthy delays, we were told we must create a small additional unit that can be marketed at a discount for inhabitants that meet certain criteria.

2 years later, we were finally granted planning permission for our works (including the smaller unit) and were able to shift our focus to meeting planning conditions and Building Regulations requirements.

The specifics

Once all planning conditions had been discharged, we started on site in late 2021.

The project was to be built in 2 phases; the first 3 plots were to be completed first, with the remaining 2 following suit at a later date. Foundations commenced with the help of our own groundworks team, and we soon made fast progress.

Building to our clients’ specifications, we created the builds with a mixture of structures. 3 were constructed using timber frames, and the remaining 2 were of masonry construction. As each homeowner had purchased their property off plan, they were able to choose their interior fixtures and fittings and put their own unique stamp on their homes.

The outcome

The first 3 properties were completed in late 2022. The remaining 2 properties will be available for purchase in 2024.

Though it would have been easy for us to give up at the first hurdle, we believed in this project from the start and were not deterred by planning challenges. We are incredibly proud of the custom designed homes that have been created within this development and believe they are perfect examples of what can be achieved with a little grit and perseverance!