All posts tagged as architecture

21 May


In Misc by Pete Tonks / May 21, 2014 / 0 Comments

Nice little result today….. we got planning for our clients for a replacement dwelling in a beautiful Cambridgeshire village not too far from my studio. We like the local ones πŸ˜‰

I took the job on last year and it took around 2-3 months for the design process and then we submitted the application to South Cambs DC. The planning was always gonna be a toughie and it has taken longer than normal with the council for various reasons but we worked with them continously throughout and negotiated our position nicely to get to where we are today… a planning approval! Happy days…

So why was it a toughie? Well, the site itself is slap bang in the middle of the village Conservation Area where demolition is normally resisted. Furthermore, the plot is surrounded by Grade II listed buildings. These are some really good looking houses and cottages though and provided inspiration for my design. They have been there for hundreds of years and its a little humbling but also something that makes me very proud to think that my designed projects will be around for the next few hundred… Anyway,,.. yes, it was gonna be a toughie but we did have our very good reasons for wanting to demolish the existing dwelling.. that reason being….? It was beyond even being an ugly duckling! It was a 60’s/70’s box that was trying its damned hardest to be cool and modernist but failing miserably on pretty much every front… how did it even get built in the first place was my initial thought but its well documented that residential architecture went off on its own cosmic path during the 60’s and 70’s and it just “kinda happened that way,.. man” So here is the existing…



And here is the approved design in blue compared to the existing footprint in red so we have got a decent increase too.


And a section through the dwelling just to check it all works.


And the approved design which is clasically Cambridgeshire village. Everything i love. Its simple but quirky and has that immediate Cambridgeshire vernacular feel.


So job done on this one…. great site, great clients and a planning approval. They can go off and do the fun bit now…





24 Apr


In Blog,Misc by Pete Tonks / April 24, 2014 / 0 Comments

So,.. I had to squeeze a little job in today for some clients we met up at the recent Homebuilding and Renovating Show at the NEC.

They have recently secured planning permission for a new build in Essex. Nothing to do with me up until I met them at the show with Tim Crump and Dave Grey of Oakwrights.

Whilst the clients had got planning, they were not sure about the design and felt that something was missing. We had a good chat about things at the show and i directed them to various areas which needed adjustment or further exploration was needed as to find exactly what was missing.














I have basically kept the profile and shape of the building as is approved so as to avoid the need to go back to planning but have then referenced some of the local Essex vernacular. The result, in my opinion, is so much better and and has a really cool Essex country house feel to it…. I love it anyway,… lets see what my clients say later.


04 Mar


In Blog by Pete Tonks / March 4, 2014 / 0 Comments

Here is a little film we put together recently just to show what we get up to behind the scenes and how i approach the design and planning service for my clients. I hope you enjoy it… PJT

14 Feb


In Blog by Pete Tonks / February 14, 2014 / 0 Comments

So i got reminiscing about my 30 years in this industry the other day with my parents and as always, i could rely on my old mum to say “i have got some photos, wait a minute”.. so off she goes and comes back first of all with this beauty!


Now, this picture i think would have been from around 1984-85 and finds me in the Potton drawing office as a fresh faced skinny thing with an equally skinny tie (probably leather but not the piano one!… Google these if you dont know what i mean) It really did make me realise that i have probably sat at a drawing board nearly every day ever since which is a lot of days and a lot of drawings… and yes, the haircut is very 80s’ hence the “mullet alert” but trust me, it was the fashion back then πŸ™‚


This second picture transports us forwards into the early 90’s and everything has gone all sci-fi and the magazine piece talks about the brave new dawn of design and computers. Yes, that is me. I have gone all corporate and that fresh faced kid from the mid 80’s is still in there somewhere but the hair is sharp and the shirt even sharper…! Check out the retro 2 screen set up, monster tablet and keyboard. If you look in between the two monitors, these were hard plastic menus that you slotted into the tablet for each of the various commands. At the time this seemed amazing but now it just seems completely stone age. Great fun to find these though.

Finding these two pictures has come at a good time actually as interestingly i have had quite a few discussions with clients lately who love my drawing style and wondered what design package i use…? I told them that the design package is my hands, a ruler, pens, pencils and tracing paper and of course a drawing board. Most of them were gobsmacked and it made me realise how much i love doing what i do but more so how much i enjoy sharing it with others.

Ironically, the magazine article eloquently suggests that ‘The use of CAD is clearly the way forward. Many of the systems now available are cheap, powerful and simple to use. Only the drawing board manufacturers should be worried’ Well, i would counter that and say that as far as i am concerned with my clients, my ‘design package’ is the way forwards and when it comes to concept, design and planning work, you cannot beat the honesty and soul that a hand drawing produces and i am happy to be ‘long in the game’ (minus the mullet!) … πŸ™‚


09 Jan


In Blog by Pete Tonks / January 9, 2014 / 0 Comments

Last night, at a planning committee meeting held at Forest Heath Council in Suffolk, we received a unanimous 13 to 1 vote in favour for a new dwelling application set within a lovely Suffolk village. Great news of course…. What made this decision sweeter though? Well, basically, the application site sits outside of the village development boundary so there is a an immediate presumption against development. Furthermore, it is in contradiction to some elements of the local plan policy.


This was however not an overnight success.

I have been working with these great clients since 2007. We have a previous planning refusal behind us together with an appeal that went against us so it was not looking good. This was for a different design to the approved scheme which was larger and in a different location.

However, during the last couple of years, the planning landscape has changed drastically and with the publication of the NPPF in 2012 and the weight that this now carries when read against local plan policy, we thought there may be a way to secure a planning approval for our clients on this beautiful plot. There were also a number of other technical legalities that we had to overcome such as trees, the affect the proposal had on adjacent listed buildings, etc etc….

The application not only consisted of the right design on the plot but also we spec’d in a lot of renewables such as fully encapsulated air tight construction, recycled insulation, ground mounted solar panels, ground source heat pump and rainwater harvesting, all of which played a part in the approval.


With lots of hard work and strategic interpretation of various policies and guidelines we got it! This truly is a landmark approval for us and just goes to show that more often than not, there is a solution. This solution may take time and money, blood, sweat and tears but if you really want to do something then just keep following that dream and approach it in the right way, at the right time, with the right team.


I bet their coffee tastes good this morning…… πŸ™‚


13 Dec


In Blog by Pete Tonks / December 13, 2013 / 0 Comments

Had a great response in today from St Edmunsbury council in Suffolk for a barn style replacement dwelling project which sits on a lovely village green.


When we did the preapp, i advised my clients to get proper surveys done on the existing dwelling so we can produce architectural comparison drawings of old versus new but also things like bats, trees, on the ground ecology etc, all of which paid off as the preapp response acknowledges the level of detail we had put in and therefore gives the whole project credibility from day one.


In overall summary, the preapp response indicates the councils support in principle which means we can proceed to the next phase which is the full planning application.

Nice little result for a Friday!


09 Dec


In Misc by Pete Tonks / December 9, 2013 / 0 Comments

Those lovely folks at Homebuilding and Renovating Magazine have just made my latest article available online. Hope you enjoy it…


03 Dec

Pink Floyd House

In The Grey Area by Pete Tonks / December 3, 2013 / 0 Comments

I love Pink Floyd and i love architecture…. all in all, i think this is great!

pink floyd house

25 Nov

Channel 4 Building the Dream

In Misc by Pete Tonks / November 25, 2013 / 0 Comments

As mentioned last week, i have had another of my projects secured for filming by Channel 4 for the next series of Building the Dream with Charlie Luxton




Obviously well pleased with this and i will keep you updated with details as and when i hear.


18 Oct

Retirement is for wimps

In Misc by Pete Tonks / October 18, 2013 / 0 Comments

So i was out an about with my work experience placement James today at client meetings and i said we would go and visit one of my recent Cambridgeshire completions. As chance had it, the main man Tim Crump was there with his professional photographer to do a full shoot on the place. These clients are a particular favourite of mine and as always, its great to spend time with Tim because you cannot fail to feed off of his enthusiasm for what we do.

What is evident from this project and many others we are involved with is that it appears that when you hit your 70’s, you don’t roll over and think about playing bingo and making maximum use of your free bus pass,.. absolutely not,…. you build yourself a house!

And this profile of client are an absolute pleasure to work with as they have a huge amount of ideas for their new house based on years of experience and have a “lets get it done” attitude.

I am pictured here (on the right) with Tim and our clients and to meet them in their new Oakwrights home on such a beautiful day was the best thing i could ever hope for at the end of a project.