Ashwell Homes and Higgins Homes

Former Bell Language School, Saffron Walden


Ashwell Homes

Higgins Homes



Vincent and Gorbing was appointed by Ashwell Homes to act as architect and town planning consultant for the redevelopment of the former Bell Language School site in Saffron Walden. The site comprised buildings of local historic interest, suggesting proposals that would include partial demolition, but also significant retention and conversion to mostly residential use. This approach was supported by the LPA and, after a lengthy community engagement exercise and a comprehensive planning application, planning permission was granted at the first attempt.

The new development comprised the removal of former extensions that obscured the original 19th century college building. It also included its conversion and extension for open-market apartments, the conversion of other buildings to residential use, and 65-place nursery, new town houses, new affordable apartments and a new self-contained care home, now being developed by McCarthy and Stone.

When Higgins Homes subsequently acquired the site, Vincent and Gorbing was appointed for the detailed design, which included the conversion of the retained buildings into apartments and the addition of 37 new houses, forming the open-market component of the development.