Stunning roof lights and lanterns

by Nick 11. February 2012 11:00

We have recently installed a VISION roof light to a flat roof kitchen extension in Heswall. The product installed is a pitched, silicone jointed, frameless roof light. The roof light was cost effective and simple to install and the effects are stunning. Consider installing them in existing flat roofs to throw light into dark areas. For more traditional customers VISION also provide framed roof lanterns.

For more information visit


Liverpool World Heritage Status - UNESCO report

by Nick 9. February 2012 22:58

Is Liverpool’s World Heritage Status stifling development of the City?


In November 2011 UNESCO sent a team of inspectors to Liverpool amid concerns that the proposed Liverpool Waters development, submitted for Planning Approval by Peel Holdings, will have a negative impact on the World Heritage Site.


The Liverpool waterfront was awarded World Heritage status in 2004. It is one of 28 sites on the World Heritage list in the UK and 936 worldwide.


UNESCO have now published their report suggesting that the World Heritage site will be irreversibly damaged’ by the proposals, if modifications are not made to the submitted scheme. They seem particularly concerned that the high rise buildings to the North and the proposed Shanghai Tower will move the visual emphasis away from the Three Graces and overshadow the Heritage Site.


The City of Liverpool is justifiably proud of the World Heritage Status it currently holds and, no doubt, benefits from increased tourism as a result. However it is entirely possible that this status could restrict the City’s long-term development due to the intervention of UNESCO teams who have a limited understanding of the City.


Liverpool has already fallen victim to concerns over the impact of development on the World Heritage site. One Park West (Liverpool One), designed by world-renowned architect Caesar Pelli, was reduced in height and changed in proportion amid concerns that the building was too high and would impact on the World Heritage site. This significantly compromised the design of a building that had the potential to be a true landmark.  I’m sure that all those involved in the decision to adjust its proportions will look back with regret over a missed opportunity.


We should learn from this lesson and not let the same happen with Liverpool Waters. Peel Holdings are presenting Liverpool with its greatest opportunity in over a century.

The proposals represent a £6 Billion investment in Liverpool, £10 Billion when combined with the approved Wirral Waters, over a period of 30 years. The proposals will not only transform the area visually but will also create thousands of jobs. Peel has worked closely with Liverpool City Council Planning department and English Heritage to produce a scheme that all parties agree on. In the course of negotiations the scheme has already been reduced. Further compromise, as a knee jerk reaction to the UNESCO inspectors report, could result in a half-baked scheme and another missed opportunity for the City to have international impact.


The UNESCO report does not go as far as suggesting that the World Heritage Status will be removed if the proposals in their current form were approved. Surly the City should stand firm and support the Application without any further dilution.


Q. Will UNESCO remove the status if Planning is approved? A. Probably not.


Q. Would it matter if they did? A. Probably not - Liverpool will be more capable of standing on its own if the development goes ahead.


Q. Will Peel take their investment elsewhere? A. If they were forced to reduce the proposals further, would you blame them? 







Nick Belderbos

Feb 2012



by Nick 9. February 2012 22:24

Flexi-plan living


Q. We are looking at the possibility of breaking through between our kitchen and dining room to form an open plan kitchen/dining/living space. What are the advantages and disadvantages and will this impact the value of our house should we come to sell?

A. Anything that involves design is affected by fashion, be it clothing, furniture, electrical goods, cars etc. The very best designs and ideas are timeless and will always be sought after. The same applies to new buildings, extensions and refurbishments. 


The idea of opening plan living is not new. The world-renowned modern architect Le Corbusier pioneered it back in the 1920’s and 30’s and it became widely used in the 1960’s.

Over the last 10-15 years breaking through between kitchens and dining rooms has become very popular resulting in the loss of the traditional dining room. The creation of an open plan space where meals can be prepared while socialising with friends of family can be attractive and may suit current lifestyles, however there can be disadvantages when entertaining:-


·        Noise can be transmitted by appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and food processors

·        Cooking smells are not confined to the preparation areas.

·        Dirty dishes look untidy as they start to accumulate.


I am not suggesting that open plan kitchen dining areas should be avoided. We have created a number of these spaces recently because they were right for that client and the property. With careful design many of the disadvantages can be minimised and overcome.:-


·        Design the space to avoid visual sight lines between the dinning area and main preparation/washing up areas. An L shaped room works well.

·        The simple inclusion of low-level walls to the front of worktops avoids direct sight of dishes from the entertaining area.


We should not necessarily be looking to revert back to the full segregation of living rooms, kitchens and dining rooms of the past, however we should look at all possibilities to refine and improve current design trends.


With all our clients we explore the potential of creating flexible spaces. Living areas can be opened up using folding partitions, sliding doors, moveable walls and fold back doors. With a little imagination these can be cost effective solutions to give the user the best of all worlds. The property can be open plan for everyday living or a party while rooms can also be closed off in different combinations to create more private areas. Consider your stage of life, young growing families, retirement etc. Will the design adapt to changes in circumstance?


The impact on potential property value is difficult to evaluate. This is very specific to the property, design, extent of alteration,  and what a buyer is looking for. On behalf of our clients, we look at working closely with estate agents at early stages of a project to establish estimated sales values based on sketch proposals. This gives an early indication prior to proceeding to detailed drawing stage. 





About are Wirral based architects working from offices in Heswall covering Wirral, much of Cheshire and Merseyside. All projects are designed and led by an RIBA Chartered Architect.
Established 10 years ago we have grown our reputation on personal service coupled with sympathetic and innovative design.

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