Developer champions redevelopment of abandoned buildings

Heritage Court

Blueoak Estates, developer of luxury, sustainable homes across the North West, has revealed 40% of its schemes to date support the Government’s bid to tackle, ‘embodied carbon’, essentially bringing dilapidated and abandoned buildings back to life and redeveloped for modern day use.

As part of the Government’s forthcoming building strategy, climate experts are urging Ministers to encourage developers to first consider ways to preserve buildings, rather than demolish and rebuild.

Iain MacLean, managing director of Chester-based Blueoak Estates, said: “From the infancy of Blueoak, we have explored ways in which we can use redundant buildings and reconfigure and redevelop them. Often, the fabric of the building is sound, however, the task of redeveloping can seem more challenging when dealing with the unknown, therefore, lots of developers prefer to simply knock down and rebuild.

“For us, we learned to recognise the vision and make-up of the original design and then benchmark that against modern needs and expectations. We must appreciate building through the decades and restore and enhance where we can.”

He added: “From a sustainability and environmental perspective, this approach dramatically reduces both waste and use of new building material, which, according to recent reports, account for around 50% of building-related carbon emissions. We’ll continue to champion this approach and showcase our schemes as best practise where possible.”

Blueoak buildings redeveloped for residential use include Heritage Court in Chester, a former 1980’s commercial building that has been transformed to create luxury homes, Chester city centre development Concorde House, a 1950’s structure which has been carefully restored and redesigned to create 32 homes, Chapel House, involving a complete restoration of an abandoned chapel, also in Chester, among several others.

Iain MacLean

Past projects include Timperley-based Bridgewater House, the conversion of a former office building into 60 apartments, commercial redevelopment, Crossford Court in Sale, an active development offering 96 apartments, and Royal House in Chester city centre, another example of driving city centre living.

Iain added: “This feels like a clear U-turn for the Government who have, in the past, championed the replacement of draughty and low performing buildings, but for us it makes perfect sense. It’s about finding innovative ways to make these buildings work today, introducing new materials and technologies that marry with the existing fabric, creating modern and comfortable homes.”