Case study: The Clementines, Blockley

Having successfully completed two sites in Mickleton our client decided to venture out into the Cotswolds to search for development sites in Chipping Campden and surrounding areas. Sites here are more difficult to find and much more expensive. Having searched for several months he came across the Clementines site.

This was a site outside the village centre of Blockley adjacent to the cemetery on one side and open views to the other sides. I remember him coming to my office to pick me up and to take me to the site and all the way there he would not talk about it. When we arrived at the site and he parked on the main road nearby, and when we got out of the car, he pointed out there. I replied where? All I could see was very steep ground and a few large outcrops of rock and I thought that there is no way that this could be a building site. I thought why would the planners allow us to build in this location?

I thought that whoever got this outline planning permission through the planning system did very well but that was the easy part. How do you build on it? where do you start? We walked up and down the site a few times and each time we were mesmerised by the beauty of the location, it had outstanding views over the valley and clearly one of the most desirable views for miles around.

I recommended to my client to purchase the site and be prepared to confront all the difficulty that the site presented as well as all the costs. It was not going to be cheap or easy, but the potential was there. It was going to be another challenge.

Once the client secured the site, we started our research in finding out what lays beneath the site as in the type of soil etc. After investigation we set about designing each dwelling.

The gradient was between 40 – 45 degrees with several outcrops of natural rocks and boulders and we had to design and position the 5 dwellings, not only to work around these large boulders and to fit each dwelling into the landscape, but also we had to take into account the views and orientation.

To clear the site, create the main access road and each drive to each dwelling was a difficult task and we also had to battle with the planning authority and the local Councillors almost on a daily basis. We had to compromise and agree to make all the boundaries between the dwellings in drystone walling which is typical of the Cotswold area.

The buildings were a mixture of 2 storey and 1½ storey in height depending on the positions within the site. The design of traditional houses faced in natural Cotswold stone, under a Cotswold stone slate with white painted windows and doors, makes them both authentic and beautiful.

The project took 18 months longer, but it was very successful, and the site has mellowed well within the surrounding landscape and it looks as if it has always been there. In all It was worth while doing this project and we felt great satisfaction seeing it completed.