Proposed BMW/MINI DEALERSHIP, Cheltenham
Held at Roberts Limbrick Ltd Offices at 10.30 pm on 2 May 2013
- Jeff Roberts, Architect, Roberts Limbrick Ltd (Chair)
- Joyce Clifford, Architect, Quattro Design
- Andy Cook, Landscape Architect, Pegasus Design
- Toby Coombes, Architect, Coombes Everitt
- Charles Cox, Architect, Heath Avery
- Mike Davies, Landscape Architect, Davies Landscape Design
- David Jones, Town Planner, Evans Jones
- Anthony Lewis, Architect, Yiangou Architects
- Jon Nettleton, Architect, Blake Architecture
The Planning Consultant outlined the planning background, identifying the sensitive location of the site, within the Green Belt and the status of the extant B1 Planning Approval that was granted at Appeal.
The Client outlined the business requirements.
The Project Architect explained the basis of the design and identified the following drivers:
- The purpose of the building, which was to sell cars
- The BMW Franchise, which dictated a ‘modern’ building of a rectilinear form, with lots of glass and that, was efficient and functional.
- The requirement to accommodate three Marks: BMW, Mini and Motorcycles.
- The requirement for a shared customer area.
- The site, in respect of available land and the sloping nature of the ground.
- The functional requirement for a long rectilinear footprint, which is double fronted with one long side presenting to the A40 and the other long side to the site entrance off Grovefield Way.
- Car Parking and Car Storage; the need to accommodate a significant number of cars.
The Landscape Architect explained the basis of the landscape proposals. The key factor appeared to be:
- The treatment of the existing tree screen between the site and the A40.
- the visual containment of the service vehicle parking area;
- a minimalist approach to plot landscaping;
- a more open aspect to Grovefield Way with entrance feature
A key part of the Brief was the desire to create a modern, high quality, flagship building. This was something that the panel saw as a great opportunity for Cheltenham, in a gateway position and one that should be embraced, encouraged and that the planning process should help to realise.
The architect acknowledged that the scheme was not yet fully resolved and the panel felt that, whilst it met many functional requirements and generally showed promise, there was still a way to go to lift it to the level of a flagship, gateway building. The panel did however feel, that to achieve its potential, the concept needed the support of the Local Authority to enable it to be developed with confidence rather than the reticence that is evident and that seems to be the result of a lack of planning certainty.
A prominent, well designed and meticulously detailed contemporary building in this location would not only speak volumes about BMW, but also about Cheltenham.