A Nine-Unit Residential Development

Studio Bloom worked closely with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to gain planning permission for nine residential units on a former commercial Fish & Chip Shop site.

The site and it's restrictions were complex, requiring collaboration with an arboriculturalist - due to the proximity of a beautiful and mature Red Oak that we have managed to retain, a flood risk & drainage consultant - as the site lies in Flood Zone 3, and transport analysis specialists - due to the introduction of 8 residential car-parking bays and revised vehicular access.

The project is on-site and nearing completion, we hope this provides some much-needed family homes and apartments for local residents. Below is a small snap shot of some of the detail and thorough exploration we undertook to create a well thought out, feasible and profitable development for our client.

Project Status: Nearing Completion

Local Authority: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

Project Size: 500 sqm GIA, site area: 844 sqm.

9 unit residential development


Our lovely clients came to Studio Bloom looking to develop their site, formerly a fish and chip shop, which had seen reduced footfall since the pandemic, particularly for customers dining in at the restaurant. They had owned the business for many years, with a secondary, smaller and more profitable takeaway shop near-by; much to local resident relief, the loss of The Bells Fish Bar wouldn't be the end of fish and chip suppers.

Previous pre-app advice was sought on the site, which helped us understand the existing constraints and concerns of the Local Authority. The previous scheme was bulky and offered eight apartment units, and it did not gain support from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

Studio Bloom stepped in to help create a scheme that was more sensitive but also tried to offer an additional unit and a better mix of dwelling types, to include some family houses with private gardens.

Site plan 3 houses and 6 apartments


• Existing Public Right of Way
• Existing mains sewage & utilities route
• Existing site access/ drop kerb/ utilities position
• Proximity/ root protection area of existing oak tree T1
• Proximity to existing neighbouring buildings - privacy & overlooking
• Car Parking & turning circle requirements
• Cycle & refuse stores
• Private amenity space
• Street scene & existing building line & orientation
• Existing grain & massing
• Building massing & suitability for character of the street/area
• Solar studies/ overshadowing
• Flooding & finished floor levels + resulting entrance sequences
• Building & dwelling typologies suitable for the site location

Family housing

Block A comprises 3 x 2-bed terrace houses at 65 sqm each.

The layout is compact, efficient and provides plenty of storage. Space is given over to maximise each individual room size. All rooms meet Nationally Described Space Standards.

Contemporary apartments

Block B comprises 4 x 1 bed & 2 x 2-bed flats at 45sqm & 62sqm respectively.

Each apartment has a balcony and is accessed via a day-lit communal stair. The 3rd-floor apartments have vaulted ceilings, whilst the ground-floor apartments have private rear gardens.

Visual impact assessment


A series of sequential massing studies were conducted to analyse the impact of the proposal on the street scene, setting the development back from the road helped to reduce the visual impact.

Overshadowing study


We used our 3D model to undertake a thorough analysis of the impact of the proposal on it's neighbours due to overshadowing and overlooking. Due to the careful positioning of the scheme on site and the placement of windows, the impact on neighbouring dwellings was minimal.

Material palette


The choice of materials and finishes is really important for a project to ensure that it blends with its site, respects and enhances the local street scene.

The material palette for this proposal is simple but carefully considered to add detail and embellishment in a practical manner and at a human scale.
The predominant material used is red, sand and grey brick. Brick is a beautiful natural material that weathers well and can be used in a decorative and textured manner to give a nod to the detail of the past buildings on the street but with a modern twist.

The same materials and design motifs are used in both the houses and apartments to create a visual cohesion between the buildings despite their varied typologies.

Residential development under construction


As architects, our key motivation is to create beautiful and functional spaces for our end-users and clients, negotiating and overcoming the multitude of constraints and challenges that a site presents, not all of which are apparent at the outset. However, when working with a development site, there has to be a keen eye on the financial aspect of the development, the value of units, the cost of construction, and the type of dwellings on offer. We worked closely with a local estate agent to help us with the dwelling mix, development costs and financial return, this input was invaluable and it has resulted in a scheme that is viable as well as beautifully thought through.


The development is on-site and nearing completion; we can't wait to share some finished images!


Do you have an empty site that you think could be developed? We can help you with a feasibility study to help uncover the options, constraints and pitfalls of a potential development project. We understand the complexities of delivering a succesful development. We also have a trusted team of builders that we can offer a concept-to-completion service. For more information, please use the link below and get in touch; we would love to hear from you.