Community - Pardon Chambers Architects

We understand that community groups have specific concerns unique to their projects. Having worked with several communities trusts and charities we know that effective stakeholder engagement is key to getting a wider buy in to the proposals and to add social value.

We also appreciate that cost control not only during the build but also during the future life of the building is crucial to consider from the outset.

Sustainability and flexibility are also key and we have looked at how to improve the energy performance of several community and institutional buildings in Hertfordshire.

We will:

  • Help you to define your brief and engage early with stakeholders
  • Work with you to establish a sensible budget for the project as well as defining your sustainability goals and project risks such as site constraints
  • Navigate the planning process for you, including public consultation
  • Help to secure the approvals that will be needed before your project can go ahead such as Building Regulations certification
  • Communicate clearly at all stages of the project, keeping you up-to-date at all times
  • Manage the construction phase by helping you to select suitable builders, obtain competitive prices for construction, monitor progress, standards and costs.
Case Study - Grove Cottage

Grove Cottage provides a wide range of activities for children and adults with learning disabilities. Their inclusive ethos aims to cater for all ages, interests and abilities. Services include an Ofsted registered Special Needs Nursery, Saturday and holiday clubs, music, performing arts, adult evening and Get Active clubs. The centre is ambitious in all it does, but it is currently severely limited in what it can offer by the current building.

Project Issues

The Grove Cottage Mencap charity in Bishop’s Stortford has been operating from its converted Victorian terrace in London Road since 1977. The current building has been extended and altered in an ad hoc manner over the past 20-30 years which has led to a building that does not meets current standards and is no longer fit for purpose.  􏰀􏰁􏰂􏰃􏰄􏰅 􏰇􏰈 􏰉􏰁􏰅 􏰊􏰋􏰅􏰊􏰁􏰌􏰎􏰏􏰐 􏰑􏰒􏰓􏰄 􏰔􏰄􏰄􏰂 􏰒􏰊􏰊􏰁􏰕􏰂

Grove Cottage needs a new home that will provide additional space for learning and social activities. This will allow the centre to provide more activities on site for its users and their families.


  • Improve the quality of user experience with efficient planning, better daylighting and improved access to to a larger garden.
  • Allow separation of the nursery from the other building users facilitated by distinct entrances for the nursery and the rest of the building.  This will allow various group activities to happen simultaneously in different parts of the building while still maintaining the safeguarding requirements of the nursery.
  • The new building will not only provide the additional space required, but will do so 􏰕􏰂in a way that is flexible and adaptable for the future􏰒 as Bishop’s Stortford grows and new needs arise.
  • Provide a simple, legible layout to aid 􏰚􏰒􏰙􏰇􏰂􏰖􏰕􏰂􏰃way finding for users and provide high quality, low􏰉􏰁􏰅 maintenance, robust spaces capable of coping with the varied activities of the centre.
  • Acknowledge the climate crisis and rising energy costs and seek to minimise energy use by using a ‘Fabric First’ approach to reduce energy demands with a highly insulated building envelope and a high level of airtightness.
  • Use renewable and low energy building servicing options such as air source heat pumps and photovoltaic panels.
Our Feasibility Review

Embarking on a building project will be one of the most significant investments that your community will make, so you’ll need to avoid abortive work. Therefore it’s important to establish the feasibility of your proposals and to define a clear brief as early as possible to help de-risk the project from the outset.

Our Project Feasibility Review will help you define your requirements in order to put together a brief that takes into account site and budget constraints as well as looking at the level of sustainability and accessibility you would like to achieve. We will then prepare sketch proposals to look at the feasibility of various options and their relative merits.

We will then summarise our findings in a simple to follow document that will also outline next steps and a possible programme for the project.