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    Our Expertise

    Distilling the Exceptional

    Exceeding Your Expectations – Maximising the Value

    Our expertise is in identifying the optimum design opportunities to deliver the best results for your project.

    Our experience of working in some of the most strictly governed conservation areas in London boroughs and beyond in the Greenbelt & AONBs has led to us developing an extensive knowledge base and a refined methodology that allows us to appraise exactly how hard to push in order to ensure a successful planning result; unlocking the maximum potential for your development.

    If you are approaching a difficult planning proposal and are unsure of how to proceed get in touch with us and we will advise you on which approach best suits your project needs.


    It’s all in the planning, in more ways than one!

    Is this a business venture or a personal project? This greatly affects the direction a development brief will take. If it is business you need to plan out what the business case is for any development with a detailed business plan. If it is for you and your own home you need to consider what your hierarchy of needs and wants are. What do you like and dislike about the home you have and what would you like to see from your new home? The more you know about your development needs the better your brief will be for your architect. You can then begin the journey of identifying, defining and refining the development opportunities. This should start with a feasibility study to help analyse what the development potential is, where the added value is and what the returns might be.


    Whether you are looking to develop a back-land plot or leftover piece of land in a city, or a site in a rural location, there are options to consider. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has an overriding presumption in favour of sustainable development. What constitutes sustainable development is a hotly debated subject in the planning world but it is worth noting the NPPF paragraphs 71, 77 and 79. These talk about the opportunities for acceptable development in locations that would normally be considered unacceptable, based on the quality of the design and meeting local house-building requirements. The same approach applies to all difficult sites, which is to design an innovative building or development of outstanding quality and use the relevant policy to make the case for the development. These routes do take time and can require significant upfront financial investment, but a positive outcome will be very rewarding.


    If you are a business or property owner in a rural setting the planning system can feel very prohibitive. Planning policies are there to protect the openness of the country side, land use and character. You need to think strategically. Start with permitted development rights. You can change the use of land and building from agricultural to ’flexible’, this includes most business uses including hotels if the accumulative floor area is less than 500m2.

    Perhaps the most interesting in terms of potential added value is the permitted change of use of agricultural buildings and land in the curtilage to residential houses. This can add significant value to a property. we often use permitted development to establish the use and then follow with a full planning application to gain permission for a better development, for example a complete new build rather than converting what can often be inappropriate structures.


    In every way our The Pavilion project was a challenge from the start (read more about it here). An astute approach and a carefully defined strategy ensured planning permission at appeal. The planners’ refusal was overturned by the inspector who agreed that the innovative design for a high quality building, which had gained local support, allayed concerns for harm to Grade II* listed The Pagoda and the conservation area through design.

    The lessons we learned in the process of gaining permission for our manifesto project can be applied to most if not all difficult sites. Whether on a significantly constrained city site, a conservation area, in the setting of a listed building, or a rural setting that presents with other considerations – the approach is the same; to make the argument for the project based on a design that meets or exceeds the local planning policy requirements.


    A building’s listing could be perceived as a set of somewhat prescriptive restrictions, however this is not to say that alterations to the building or its setting are not possible. The case can be made for alterations to a listed building if this enhances and preserves its use, thereby securing its longevity for future generations.

    Director Sam Cooper has received accreditation as an RIBA Conservation Architect, after more than 20 years working on and in listed and historically significant buildings and conservation areas. This puts Sam in a group of approximately 270 conservation architects in the country, recognising him as an expert in the field. Sam attended the intensive course at RIBA Portland Place and has condensed a career of experience and knowledge into a 64 page dossier to present to the Assessment Panel, this is available for download here.

    Sam Cooper

    About E2 Architecture

    E2 have established a reputation for designing beautiful and innovative buildings. We take pride in achieving distinctive designs of outstanding quality that enhance and add value to homes, businesses and developments.

    We will help you create buildings and spaces that are comfortable, enjoyable and life enhancing. Our approach to each project, big or small, starts from the same position; objectivity, respect, care and attention. We empower progress through a collaborative approach with our clients and strive to exceed expectations of the value great architecture can bring to a project.

    Whether for a new build one-off house, multiple unit mixed use buildings, or for creating striking contemporary interventions to heritage and Grade Listed buildings, our expertise lies in merging innovative contemporary architecture with high performing energy efficient building techniques and sympathetic restoration to bring you a building which is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Sam Cooper


    Your project objectives are our prerogative here at E2.

    From the outset we will be seeking to understand what

    the specifics of your brief are and where the opportunities

    might be to maximise and exceed your brief with well considered

    design derived from in depth conversation with you and

    thorough analysis of where the value can be realised.

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