Charlton House, is the global headquarters of Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc, a FTSE 100 company and is one of Cheltenham’s largest employers. It has occupied the site since the 1940s.
Charlton House is a complex site, involving a Grade II listed building and has been extended in the latter half of the 20 Century.
Spirax-Sarco were faced with a dilemma, the modern office extension was reaching the end of its operational life, it was poorly configured and ill-suited to modern working practices.
Given the need for change, the company appointed McLoughlin Planning and Roberts Limbrick Architects along with a multi-disciplinary consultant team to advise on options for redevelopment, to provide a modern, highly energy efficient work-space, fit for the 21 Century.
Working in partnership with Roberts Limbrick Architects we took the company through the various options available in terms of demolition and replacement structures. Refurbishment was out of the question. The fundamental challenge was to balance the need for a modern office space against the need to respect the character and setting of Charlton House. This demanded a creative and bold confident approach.
At an early stage of the project, the company sought to embody its environmental commitments into the project and working with the team, decided on a strategy which would deliver the County’s first ever BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) ‘Outstanding’ building, which is a very high bar in terms of measuring its environmental performance. Less than top 1% of new non-domestic buildings in the UK are within the Outstanding category so this is a significant achievement. ‘Outstanding’ building.
The new extension contains open-plan office space, break-out areas, an auditorium, a gym and changing facilities. Securing the renovation of the company’s global headquarters will help to consolidate their position in Cheltenham and will secure existing and attract new high-skilled jobs in the town for years to come.
McLoughlin Planning explained and guided Spirax-Sarco through the planning process, submitting the planning and listed building applications for the redevelopment. We were able to demonstrate that the bold, superior architectural design of the replacement extension clearly outweighed the minor harm that would be caused to the historic fabric of the listed building.
As part of the process, we equally advised the company on concerns raised from local residents which focused on the height of the new five-storey extension and the disturbance that would be caused during the demolition and construction phases of the development. Again, we were able to demonstrate to the Council that the development would not be detrimental to neighbouring residents and the applications were approved by the Council’s Planning Committee only four months after submission.