St Mary's School

Planning permission secured for a new teaching block in a sensitive location following an appeal.


Beacon were appointed by the school following withdrawal of an application when it was clear it would be recommended for refusal. The scale, bulk and massing of the new building was considered unacceptable with undue visual impact and prominence when viewed from the Botanic Gardens and from adjacent residential property.

We undertook a detailed context study to demonstrate the limited visibility of the proposed building and worked with the architects to ensure the detailed design was in context. This led to a reduction in footprint, height, alterations to reduce the visual impact of the top floor.

Although recommended for approval the application was refused at the Area Planning Committee due to concerns over loss of light to adjoining houses. We prepared the appeal and in allowing it the Inspector commented:

‘Overall, I consider that the building would fit into the existing building relationships in the immediate area at this end of the Mews, and it would integrate with the existing pattern of development. I conclude that the proposal would preserve and not harm the character or appearance of the Conservation Area and the protected Botanic Gardens and the surrounding locality’.

In terms of the impact upon the adjoining houses he added:

‘My planning judgement is that the proposal’s impacts on the living conditions of nearby residential occupiers to the east in Bateman Mews would be within acceptable limits’

We have continued to work for the school and have secured consents for several smaller scale projects.


Planning permission was granted in November 2010.

ClientSt Mary's School, Cambridge
AppointedJuly 2009
Services providedApplication   Appeal  
BP teamAndy Thompson  
ArchitectJohn McAslan and Partners
* Images courtesy of ©John McAslan and Partners
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