Apartments & Blocks of Flats

The popularity of apartments and blocks of flats amongst Developers and occupiers alike remains high in most towns and cities.

With the ability to create higher densities and taller developments than more traditional forms of housing, as well as converting existing redundant buildings, apartments often provide a planning challenge requiring creative and robust solutions.

At plande, we have a wide range of experience of obtaining planning approval for apartments, from small, low rise developments in towns, to high-rise mixed-use developments in city centres.



Apartments Planning

The following case studies provide a small sample of the different types of apartments and blocks of flats we have been involved with.

Town Centre Mixed Use Apartments

Mixed Use Development comprising 11 Apartments and c.5,300 sq ft Retail

The catalyst for this mixed use development was the relocation of an existing dental practice from a poorly converted and inadequate facility housed within a run down Victorian property on the site.

This approach was developed following detailed appraisals of the site to identify and unlock its true economical potential. The relocation of the dental practice facilitated the procurement for the new large retail units facing the main road with eleven apartments above.

This modernist intervention creates a family of buildings, which respond to the contemporary design of its immediate neighbours, rather than being a pastiche of the more traditional buildings found on in the vicinity. This approach helps to strengthen the importance of this site and reinforce the link to the commercial town centre.

Local Planning Authority: Trafford Council

see also: Mixed Use Development; A1 Retail; D2 Leisure; Speculative Residential

Apartments in Conservation Area

13 no. 1 and 2 Bedroom Apartments on tight brownfield site, within Conservation Area

The redevelopment of a single storey warehouse unit on a tight brownfield site in the Town Centre posed many challenges both in terms of planning and construction for these flats.

A small street frontage led onto a deep site opening up to fantastic views over open countryside to the rear. Access was limited and the surrounding context was varied both in scale and appearance. Proposals developed a high density apartments scheme over two blocks with a pedestrian link to the main street and vehicular access to the rear.

Aesthetically the scheme took reference from the surrounding area and developed a contemporary scheme to the rear, with a more traditional, natural stone frontage to the street.

Local Planning Authority: Wyre Borough Council

see also: Mixed Use Development; A1 Retail; D2 Leisure; Speculative Residential

Blocks of Flats Planning

44 no. 1 and 2 Bedroom Apartments on brownfield site in Manchester

This contemporary development of 44 apartments is a direct response to the constraints of the site, and has been designed to reflect the height, scale and massing of the surrounding buildings. The building respects the “domestic” scale of its surroundings along the main road whilst addressing the scale of the adjacent elevated motorway. The form of the building takes advantage of the fantastic views of the Mersey Valley that are available from the site whilst minimising views of the motorway.

On a former petrol station site, issues of ground contamination and Japanese Knotweed had to be addressed, as well as flood protection measures to ensure that the building sits above the 1 in 100 flood level. An acoustic scheme was also prepared in order to protect the apartments from the noise generated by the M60. The scheme was designed to achieve an Eco homes “good” rating.

Local Planning Authority: Manchester City Council

see also: Speculative Residential; Brownfield Developments

Blocks of Flats Planning

Mixed Use development comprising Retail, Workshop, Live/ Work and Residential Apartments

Sitting on an prominent site on a main road into Llangollen, the site has a number of challenges. The tight site has a storey difference in levels and fronts directly onto the River Dee which is designated as an SAC and SSSI site. The brief called for a contemporary but responsive design reflecting the industrial nature of the surrounding buildings. New contemporary additions were added to the existing mill to provide a new circulation core and a roof top extension.

Project Challenges: Main road location; level changes, Flood Zone, SAC, SSSI Site, Environmentally sensitive site. Impending World Heritage Status

Local Planning Authority: Denbighshire County Council

see also: Mixed Use; Brownfield; Change of Use; B1/ C3 Use; A1 Use

Blocks of Flats Planning

Conversion of Character Property into seven bespoke, high quality apartments

The existing, unique, property which sits in substantial mature grounds has become too large for family life and a sensitive scheme was developed to create individual, bespoke residential apartments, many with their own front door and private external space.

Project Challenges: sensitive intervention with existing building; utilising existing structure and window openings, creating individual units and identity. Building of Local Interest

Local Planning Authority: Flintshire County Council

see also: Heritage/ Historic Buildings; change of use; speculative residential

Apartments in Flood Zone

Development of 24 apartments on Brownfield site in Town Centre in North Wales

Sitting on an prominent site in the Town Centre, this site has been vacant for a number of years. The site is also on a category C2 flood plain which prevents any residential developments. We worked with a Flood Consultant to overcome these issues and develop a robust apartments cheme reflecting the characteristics of the area and addressing the context of the site.

Project Challenges: Category C2 Flood Plain, tight urban site with overlooking issues, land contamination.

Project Achievements: planning achieved following previous design team refusal for similar scheme; Environment Agency approval even though within C2 flood plain & first such scheme within Flintshire County Council. High Density. Received Planning Officer recommendation for approval.

Local Planning Authority: Flintshire County Council

see also: Mixed Use; Brownfield; Change of Use; A1 Use

Apartments in Flood Zone

5 storey Mixed Use development comprising Ground Floor Retail with  Residential Apartment units above, Manchester

The brief called for an innovative and creative solution to this tight cleared infill site in the heart of the Northern Quarter in Manchester City Centre. With a site area of approximately 55m2 and frontage of only 5.5m the internal layout was critical to maximise the development potential of the site. With only 1 main façade suitable for windows, we developed an efficient layout maximising every aspect of the design.

Project Challenges: Conservation Area; Extremely Tight Site dimensions, No external areas for servicing, DDA regulations

Project Achievements: 5 storeys in a predominantly 3 and 4 storey area, negotiated a reduced requirement of Design for Access 2 including removing the lift from the scheme

Local Planning Authority: Manchester City Council

see also: Mixed Use; Brownfield; Conservation Area

Apartments in Flood Zone

Conversion of Victorian Dwelling into seven high quality 1 bedroom apartments

Planning permission for conversion of dwelling into apartments; generally contrary to policy.




Local Planning Authority: Trafford Council

see also: Brownfield; Change of Use; Historic/ Heritage

Certificate of Lawfulness Apartments

Certificate of Lawful Existing Use, Bury, Greater Manchester.

The site had received planning approval in 1979 for over 140 apartments in several blocks. Research and analysis of the site suggested that various works had commenced at the time. A Certificate of Lawfulness application was submitted and was successful determined. Whilst there were several conditions on the original approval that required discharging, we successfully argued that these did not go “to the heart of the permission” and therefore did not prevent a lawful start on site.


Local Planning Authority: Bury Council

see also: Brownfield; Certificate of Lawfulness; Historic/ Heritage

Apartments in Flood Zone

Conversion of Victorian Villa into 11 Apartments, Manchester

Incorporating contemporary rear extensions to increase useable space. Located adjacent to Grade II Listed Church




Local Planning Authority: Manchester Council

see also: Brownfield; Change of Use; Historic/ Heritage

Lawful Development Certificate for Apartments

Lawful Development of 24 apartments on Brownfield site.

A development of 24 apartments, originally forming part of a larger scheme approved in 1977. We managed to proved that the original scheme had been implemented and therefore this scheme was still able to be implemented. Minor amendments to update external appearance to the block of flats.

Local Planning Authority: Bury Council

see also: Brownfield; Certificate of Lawfulness; Historic/ Heritage

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This page provides an introduction only and is not a definitive statement of the law and should therefore not be relied upon.
The information above relates to England only. Policies across the rest of the UK may differ.
Contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and confirmation before any works are carried out.