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November 16, 2023

Lowestoft Town Hall wins planning

We are thrilled to have received planning and listed building consent for our project at Lowestoft Town Hall. The site has seen a town hall on it for centuries in various forms, but since 2017 the current incarnation, a Victorian set-piece, has been unused and sadly fallen into significant disrepair.

With this latest milestone, we are fully on track for restoring it to its rightful place at the heart of the community, and completing its urban block to make a beautiful and welcoming civic hub for the community.

September 26, 2023

Lowestoft Town Hall awarded NHLF funding

Our project to restore and extend Lowestoft Town Hall has been awarded £3.2m grant funding by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This fantastic support will enable the currently vacant Grade II listed building to be returned to its rightful civic role by becoming home to Lowestoft Town Council and the registry office, and a venue for civil ceremonies and community events.

With a diverse mixed-use program, the project will restore the building’s public presence through restoration of the Victorian frontage and set-piece Council Chamber. The Town Hall will become a hub for local heritage with displays about the local area as well as community arts activity, and extensions that complete the Town Hall’s urban block will house an event hall, co-working and other facilities, set around a new courtyard garden. The works will make the building fully accessible and will significantly reduce its carbon footprint through insulation and energy efficient systems.

We are excited to continue the next phase of work for this brilliant project, working with Richard Griffiths Architects as conservation specialists; Momentum Engineering and Max Fordham. Read more about it on our project page.

September 26, 2023

Sunspot opens in Jaywick Sands

Sunspot has opened! Our landmark project in Jaywick Sands celebrated completion with a wonderful community event on Saturday, with local bands, fairground rides, climbing wall and many of the new tenants showcasing their businesses to the community.

The Sunspot includes affordable business units, covered market, café, public toilets and meeting rooms alongside a community garden, bus shelter and event space. Commissioned by Tendring District Council, the project creates a new landmark for Jaywick Sands, generating jobs and local services in a community which has experienced severe deprivation for decades. The building has a distinctive geometric design and graphic colour scheme, and has been designed as a ‘long meanwhile’ project that can be disassembled and re-erected, or the elements reused and recycled, if the site is redeveloped as part of wider long-term regeneration.

Our director Hana Loftus said “Completing the Sunspot is a milestone in the regeneration of Jaywick Sands. We developed the original business case and have been involved in the whole process through to marketing, letting and opening the building. We hope the design expresses the joy and originality of Jaywick Sand – a place that is unique in its architecture, its history and its sense of community.

Lee Heley, Corporate Director for Place & Economy at Tendring District Council, said “The building and the public spaces around it are a real beacon of change for Jaywick Sands – a project that brings much-needed facilities that will benefit everyone, as well as generating jobs and supporting tourism. The building is a memorable addition to our coastline and we are thrilled with the result.”

July 27, 2023

Great Yarmouth Design Code consultation

Our first authority-wide Design Code SPD, developed for Great Yarmouth Borough Council, is now out for public consultation, until 15th September. The Design Code sets out clear standards and guidance for all aspects of design across both rural and urban areas in this fascinating and characterful part of East Anglia.

We worked with a wide range of stakeholders and local groups in developing the code, which is one of the first new-style authority-wide codes to be developed since the government announced that codes would become mandatory across all local planning authority areas. We drew on best practice around the country and from abroad, and focused particularly on designing to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change, and how to ensure new housing developments relate sympathetically to the landscape of east Norfolk and the character of their adjoining communities.

We structured the Design Code so it is plain English, practical and easy to use by all audiences – and, at just over 100 pages, it is comparatively short to make it more accessible. It contains most detail for areas where there is likelihood of significant change in the future and where current policy and guidance is lacking.

May 17, 2023

Trinity Square consultation

We have been working with Colchester City Council to improve Trinity Square, one of the most historic churchyards in the city centre, and we're now consulting on the designs. The aim of the project is to create an oasis-like public garden in the heart of the city, as a place for people to relax, meet friends, eat lunch and enjoy a moment of calm. The design approach is light-touch, changing as little as possible while making the churchyard accessible and usable for all and improving the setting of the Grade I listed church.

We are holding an on-site consultation alongside members of the Council team this Saturday 20th May, 10am-2pm, and there is also an online survey running from 16th May to 16th June 2023, where you can find out more and comment on the proposals.

We have worked closely with Historic England, Colchester City Council's planning, heritage and tree officers and specialist arboricultural consultants to develop the design. The project is part of the Town Deal projects funded by central government, which will transform many important spaces and buildings in the city centre, including our work at St Nicholas Square.

April 3, 2023

Selwyn Goldsmith Universal Design Award winner

We are pleased to have been awarded one of only two Selwyn Goldsmith Universal Design Awards this year, from the Civic Trust Awards for our project at Ely Museum.

This is so rewarding for us, as universal design - which means making spaces that are inclusive and welcoming to everyone and which allow all users to have an equal experience, no matter their physical or neurological needs, their age or their background, is central to our design ethic. We put a lot of work into making the user journey for different user groups as seamless as possible.

Within Ely Museum - a quite cramped Grade 2 listed building - we worked with our fantastic long-term access collaborator Tom Lister to make the building truly accessible for the first time. We were really glad that the interpretation designers Simon Leach and David Sudlow were equally committed to genuine accessibility.

February 23, 2023

SPD Adopted!

We are delighted that Tendring Council has adopted the new Jaywick Sands Design Guide SPD, following public consultation in 2022. We produced the SPD on behalf of Tendring Council, and working closely with the Environment Agency in order to develop appropriate, place-specific guidance that will enable the improvement of housing quality and flood safety for residents. This innovative, place-specific approach will mitigate the risks posed to a community who are increasingly vulnerable to climate change.

The SPD removes barriers to the rebuilding of homes that are not flood safe, while ensuring that new development that does not take unsafe homes out of habitation is required to meet stringent tests. It makes rebuilding or improvement of their homes more accessible to existing homeowners by providing clear guidance and worked examples for typical plots. It will also benefit planning officers in determining planning applications and pre-application submissions, where previously they lack guidance on how to balance the different aspects of design, regeneration benefits and flood safety.

Jaywick Sands is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, due to its location and topography, the unique layout of the settlement, and the nature of the homes it contains. The wider engagement undertaken around this project has also helped to raise local awareness of climate change issues, and is benefitting the development of a long-term regeneration framework for the community.

February 22, 2023

HAT appointed to new GLA Architecture + Urbanism Framework

We have been re-appointed to the Mayor of London's Architecture + Urbanism (A+U) Framework - one of just eight practices selected for the Spatial Policy, Urban Strategies and Research category. The framework is available for local authorities and public sector clients nationwide to use and provides a pre-approved list of innovative and diverse built environment consultants.

We are the only practice without a London office to have been appointed to the framework, which demonstrates the outstanding quality of service and insight that our team deliver, and one of 65 practices selected out of 273 applicants. It has also been fantastic to see that the selection process has resulted in a far more diverse panel than ever before, with 57% of appointed practices being diverse-led. We look forward to supporting London’s #GoodGrowthByDesign over the coming years and we hope to see more regional clients make use of this framework.

February 2, 2023

Essex Talks: Tim Burrows in conversation with Hana Loftus and Ken Worpole

Hana will be in conversation with Tim Burrows and Ken Worpole at Firstsite, Colchester on Thursday 16th February at 7pm, discussing the Essex Flood of 1953 - one of the worst natural disasters in British history.

On 31st January 1953, a high spring tide and a severe European windstorm over the North Sea caused the sea to breach over 1200 sea defences along the East Anglia coast, with Essex sea walls breached in 300 places. 104 people died in Essex and thousands more were left homeless.

Tim, Hana and Ken will discuss the impacts of this tragic event across Essex and its legacy 70 years on, reflecting how we can approach the risk which still exists, while ensuring communities affected are supported equitably. HAT have recently developed new planning guidance for Jaywick, in close collaboration with the Environment Agency.

Tickets for the in person event are available from Firstsite, and the event will also be livestreamed.

As part of the commemoration of the floods, Jaywick Martello Tower are reshowing and evolving their Tides of Tendring exhibition, which will run from 4th February until 2nd April and which we originally contributed to in 2019.

January 10, 2023

Ely Museum a winner in the 2023 Civic Trust Awards!

We are delighted that Ely Museum has been announced as a winner in the 2023 Civic Trust Awards and the Selwyn Goldsmith Awards for Universal Design, selected from over 250 national and international entries.

Civic Trust Awards are given to projects that make an outstanding contribution to the quality and appearance of the built environment. Award level schemes demonstrate excellence in architecture or design, whilst being sustainable, accessible and providing a positive civic contribution.

The Selwyn Goldsmith Awards are selected by a specially convened panel of universal design experts, seeking to celebrate environments or buildings that are responsive, flexible, welcoming, easy to use and occupy; allowing all to use with dignity and equality, aiming to promote and applaud "those schemes which have gone beyond the building regulations, putting people at the heart of the project and showing exemplar design."