risbygate Street Bury St Edmunds

In the heart of the retail area of Bury St. Edmunds, this site used to be a car park.  Our building sits close and can be read with the retail centre designed by the famous architects John Hopkins.


Our client, Havebury Housings brief was to create as many one and two bedroom flats for affordable rent as possible to meet National Space Standards.

Key Challenges and Successes

  • The design had to reflect the local conservation area along Risbygate Street, requiring the use of quality materials and a high build quality.

  • Situated on a steep slope, an economical layout was required to minimise stairs and circulation space.

  • Being a tight site in the middle of Bury St Edmunds, a case was successfully put forward for a no car parking policy, resulting in a greater housing density that would otherwise be achieveable.
  • To avoid the elevations being peppered with boiler flues a communal heating system was employed. Extract grilles were avoided by incorporating passive stack ventilation taken to roof level.
  • Due to the building being positioned against a public footpath, an inventive elevational treatment was devised to create privacy for the residence.
  • A timber slatted device was also employed across many of the windows at high level to minimise overlooking into neighbouring properties.
  • Due to the tight working areas, surrounded by the public, SIPS (Structural Insulated Panels) were employed, minimising the need for on-site storage of materials.

Procurement Route

Design and Build.

Service Provided

Concept designs, public consultations, securing planning permission, discharging planning conditions, consultant switch to contractor, working drawing package and support to contractor through to completion.

Design Process

The scheme was carefully designed and visualised from the outset using BIM (building information modelling).

Modelling the sloping terrain was invaluable in arriving at a cost-effective layout that minimised level differences within the building, reducing the need for excessive stairs and lifts.

We were able to satisfy concerns with neighbour amenity by utilising our model to set up views from specific rooms looking out across the surrounding area of the site.

Design options on the elevational treatment were explored in 2 dimensions to ensure window cleaning and general maintenance would not be compromised.

I have known and worked with Gary Johns since 2010 and have used the practice constantly ever since. As an affordable housing provider, Havebury seek excellence in order to create value and deliver homes that exceeds the expectations of others. This is achieved by working with a team of individuals who are creative, innovate and most importantly, achieve planning permission while meeting the meeting the clients brief. I am grateful for the commitment Gary Johns Architects has given to Havebury as a client.

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