Ash Tree Farm – Congleton, Cheshire

Portfolio Description

Extension and renovation in Congleton

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Congleton, Cheshire

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Anticipated Cost

£300K+VAT exc. fixtures and fittings (2021)

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Services Provided

Sketch proposals/concept design, detailed planning drawings, detailed building regulations and tender drawings.

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20 Weeks

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Design & build contractor

The brief

PJH Architectural Services were appointed by our clients to assist in their project on the stunning former farmhouse in the heart of the Open Countryside in Congleton. Boasting almost 4 acres of land, the property sits boldly in it’s surroundings, showcasing it’s former farmhouse roots with elegant brickwork and timber windows retaining the original character. Having recently purchased the property, our clients were keen to adapt the interior programme of the dwelling in order to better suit their way of living, as well as accommodate a more functional interior layout.

After viewing a range of impressive projects completed by PJH, our clients knew that they could put their trust in us to help improve their new home, with due care and consideration given to the overarching heritage of the property. With the property having been heavily extended in the late 80’s, and sitting within the Open Countryside as denoted by Cheshire East, any external alterations were required to be of the highest quality and minimal in additional massing. The brief therefore involved the creation of a more prominent entrance to the dwelling, an elegant new office & snug area to the ground floor, and a reconfiguration of the first floor for a more appropriate use of the expansive floor area.

Design & planning

As existing, the former farmhouse boasted a grand internal floor area, but the sporadic location of entrances and hallways left a series of awkward thoroughfares throughout the property. The principal entrance was set at the side of the property, difficult to locate and affording a walk straight through the kitchen in order to access the rest of the dwelling. A simple design move quickly rearranged the interior space; relocating the main entrance to the front of the property, adjacent to the front drive, provides a more accessible internal thoroughfare and allows for a more light filled entrance to the home.

To the side of the property, the proposals also set to replace a tired old orangery with a sympathetically designed extension to tie in with the existing dwelling. The creation of a quiet library room with a quaint reading nook accessed off the hall leads through to the new side extension, which houses the office overlooking the grounds and countryside beyond. The construction of the side extension was a less imposing and more thermally efficient solution – a number of Eco measures were discussed throughout the process, in order to maximise the performance of the dwelling; older structures such as these are often more susceptible to poor energy performance and can require upgrades to thermal elements in order to comply with current Building Regulations.

The ground floor remediations were complete with a rejuvenated WC, utility and bootroom providing secondary access to allow our clients to an area of recluse before making their way into the main habitable spaces after enjoying long walks through the countryside.

The existing first floor layout was heavily dictated by the original structure of the former farmhouse – imposing internal walls ranging from 300-500mm thick – which led to a series of  well sized bedrooms and bathrooms within the demise of the original building. Within the extended areas however, the rooms were awkwardly sized and didn’t provide continuity with the rest of the dwelling. A series of internal tweaks allowed us to better utilise the space to create a spacious master bedroom and en-suite, as well as a secondary office space suitable for the needs of the modern home-working lifestyle.

Once we were all collectively happy with the proposals, ensuring the designs were in accordance with relevant Planning and Open Countryside regulations, our detailed planning package was put together and a planning application was formally lodged with Cheshire East Council. Approval was granted for the works to the former farmhouse, with the proposals described as ‘well designed, having consideration to the style and massing of the original house’.

Building regulations & tender

Once planning was approved, we proceeded to put together our detailed package of Building Regulations and tender documents, giving our clients everything they needed to approach a selection of highly recommended Cheshire contractors for accurate tender quotes. Works were complete in 2022, see the project gallery for a selection of completed photos from the project!

Thinking of pursuing something similar to this project? Feel free to take a look at some of our blogs:

PJH Eco Series: Insulation Retrofit To Existing Dwellings
Why Can Architects & Designers Fees Differ?
Don’t Risk The Price Of Incorrect Information

If you need any advice on the first steps of designing and planning an external renovation project, extension or new build feel free to get in touch for a brief chat, we are here to help.


Tel: 0161 4600382

PJH Architectural Services