St Pauls Square – Bedford

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Client: BBC/Aldwyck Housing Group
Contractor: VE Parrott
Architect: Philip Bailey
Location: Bedford
Budget: £110k
Duration: 8-12 weeks
Services: Lime Plastering – restoration

Heart of Bedford – Heritage to affordable housing in 1 year

The scenario: 1-4 St Paul’s Square, Bedford had stood derelict for nearly 40 years – In 2014 VE Parrott Contractors’ started to convert the buildings to affordable housing.

The challenges: Challenges related to work restoration and the lack of original drawings – due to the site’s heritage crossing varying periods; from medieval to mid-Victorian. It was crucial to protect the site’s history.

We were recommended by Bedford Borough Council (BBC) and prior to the project commencing we attended several BBC meetings so they could determine our level of expertise. No historic drawings on the properties existed. The project was very important to us as it was the oldest building we had ever been involved with.  As the project progressed many unplanned anomalies revealed themselves.  Two were particularly challenging – how to plaster up to and incorporate the roof trusses and another issue with the timber lintels.

St Paul's Square VE Parrott Contractors Heritage Restoration

Our solution – We therefore needed to be flexible to unforeseen events as they occurred. We made ourselves readily available and helped overcome the problem with the timber lintels by exposing the lintels original details and reforming them. We worked with VE Parrott demonstrating how to plaster up to roof trusses, without damaging them. Our on-site, heritage specialist plasterer worked hand-in-hand with VE Parrott Contractors to overcome the challenges.  Our plasterer used Mike Wye & Associates lime plaster products; because their products are natural and they are sustainable building and decorating specialists. They have immense knowledge of lime products.

“Artisan worked in close cooperation with V E Parrott (Oakley) Ltd. They provided advice and assisted in negotiation with the Conservation Officer on finishing to the Grade II listed building, St Paul’s Place, Bedford. Their expertise with lime plastering finishes was invaluable and the completed building is a testament to Artisan’s skills.” David Moore, V E Parrott Ltd

The results – All of the external lime render, internal lime plaster on lath has been fully restored and in keeping with the properties’ historic period. The project exceeded the local authority and conservation officers’ expectations and requirements.  Funding for this project was secured through the Empty Homes Initiative. We were proud to have worked on retaining these heritage buildings and their transformation into affordable housing of 9 flats and a three-bedroomed house.

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