West Sussex offers homeowners the best of village life and countryside, with easy access to London. Historic market towns, beautiful beaches, rolling hills and proximity to the Eurotunnel give the area a cachet that is hard to find in other parts of the country. The architectural landscape is a mixture of historic, half-timbered villas and modernised 20th-century homes.
Building, rebuilding or expanding a home in West Sussex requires adherence to local building regulations. This takes time and perseverance, but architects in West Sussex or London can help homeowners navigate the process.Scenario Architecture has been successfully piloting their clients through the planning process since we founded our practice more than a decade ago. Our experience for designing and modernising homes with compassion for the local vernacular has helped make Scenario one of the area’s most coveted residential partnerships.
Scenario was founded in 2007 with a passion for overhauling period architecture with striking contemporary design. We put our clients at the forefront of every design to achieve harmonious results – not only to look at but also to live in. A home that respects its past, present and future is the product of creative skill and a deep understanding of the residents. Scenario’s tailor-made homes tell the story of each owner – not about the architects.
Our landmark project Scenario House, shortlisted for the RIBA London Awards in 2018, is demonstrative of our fresh, customised approach and our commitment to the needs of today’s homeowners.
Your West Sussex project
We’ve designed an illustrated synopsis of the planning processes across London and the southeast to help see you through the early stages of your project, whether you’re undertaking a home extension, renovation or new-build.
If you plan to alter a home in West Sussex, you will likely require approval by your local planning department. We at Scenario have a flawless record securing planning permission for our clients, and can help homeowners negotiate with local councils across the southeast.
Discover if your architect has been successful in steering planning applications through your council. Visit you district council’s website, click on “Planning”, go into the search engine for planning applications and type in your agent’s name.
Scenario is an established architecture practice focusing on contemporary residential design. We take on projects of every scale and scope, from home refurbishment, renovation and expansions to new-builds.
Working with Scenario Architecture
Scenario Architecture’s skilled London-based practitioners design residential projects of every scale and complexity, from refurbishments to renovations, expansions to new-build homes.
As a RIBA Chartered Practice, Scenario complies with the strict health and safety criteria specified by the country’s professional body.
All our architects use 3D design technology to achieve their results. Real-time visualisations and virtual reality are the most efficient tools for maximising space, choosing fixtures, simulating natural light and seeing every project come to life. This Chartered Institute of Building case study featuring a Scenario project demonstrates the benefits of advanced technology for residential architecture.
In our client's words
Great ideas and vision to help with our substantial improvement of a Victorian terrace. In our experience Scenario's method prioritises the final result. That may mean more professional fees or higher quotes from contractors, as they understand the exact requirements.
Great, professional service. Good drawings and models and ultimately passed planning at the first attempt with Hackney Council. Would certainly recommend!
Scenario Architecture have created an outstanding design and space that was beyond my expectations. The design was through their unique process of understanding the client’s daily scenarios and collaborating with the client to come up with a unique design. The design process is one of the most memorable parts of the process and they also stretched my existing ideas to help create this unique space. A stress free journey throughout the whole process which Scenario were indispensable by giving advice on many difficult design and build decisions.
We wanted to renovate our house in a conservation area in central London. Given this involved a complete demolition and new build with an extra floor on top, getting planning approval was always going to be tricky. Scenario did an amazing job on the new house 'envelope' and throughout the planning phase. We couldn't have wished for better from them and having succeeded in gaining planning approval owe them a very big 'thank you'.
Scenario were great at thinking imaginatively and coming up with a design for a ground floor extension that was more ambitous than other architects we spoke to. They also helped us find a contractor who was able to complete the project working within timescale and our tight budget. I would recommend for mid to large sized projects with sufficient budget to allow for full utilisation of their creativity.
Buying a home in West Sussex means buying into an illustrious history dating back millennia. Abutting the sea and nearly entirely covered in green – more than half the area is protected countryside – it boasts Bronze Age burial grounds, Roman villas, Saxon lore and vestiges of Norman might. But its more recent history can be seen in the half-timbered Tudor-era houses and Georgian mills that dot the region.
Spectacularly undeveloped, West Sussex retains much of its Old World character, yet still sits largely within London’s commuter belt. Living here, a family can enjoy the best of the city while spending weekends at the seaside. Towns like East Grinstead connect to Central London and coastal cities like Brighton, with Gatwick Airport right down the road. They typically offer a mix of pretty, historic cottages and quiet clusters of mid-century homes, with ample properties into which to expand. Further south, towns like Worthing take on a beachy vibe with pastel-coloured Victorian terraces, turn-of-the-century bandstands and busy piers. Chichester, the county seat, revolves around a 12th-century Norman cathedral.
Families that expect to grow can find adequate space with the possibility to expand. Meanwhile commuting to London – whether for work or fun – is never entirely out of the question. Conversely, those who wish to leave London entirely for the allure of the sea can find it in places like surfer’s haven West Wittering.
People are attracted to West Sussex for more than just the clean air, proximity to the city and the lifestyle of farmers’ markets and craft beer. The potential of the existing housing is quite a draw. Just as West Sussex has a foot in the old and modern world, many homes here nod to the past while embracing the contemporary. The local vernacular style takes on a traditional silhouette, yet larger windows mean interiors get more natural light. It is not unusual for architects in West Sussex to build onto the original footprint with wide banks of glazing that give the rear aspect an altogether modern look. A good architect with experience in the region will be able to design around local planning restrictions and ensure the addition is acceptable to council officials.
The rear conservatory is a common home expansion move in West Sussex, but homeowners also choose to build up into loft areas and down into basements. Since the mid-century families have also come to the county to build anew. The area is open to new ideas, shapes, techniques and materials and it’s not unusual to find a striking façade of cross-laminated timber or white stucco among the traditional red brick. If you’re interested in seeing what options you have in the general area, contact architects in West Sussex or visit our Projects database.
Frequently Asked Questions
- As a dynamic practice operating in London’s premium residential market, managing projects remotely and conducting virtual meetings was a very familiar territory for us, long before the pandemic began and ‘working remotely’ became the norm.
- Our clients have very busy lifestyles and may move between several different locations, both within the UK and beyond, during the lifecycle of a typical project.
- To accommodate such client needs and enable us to run their projects smoothly we had all the technology and know-how associated with remote working in place for several years.
- Read our full (Virtual) Process
- Scenario based design – We start each and every project with a meticulous analysis of our client’s vision, requirements and aspirations. We do this by asking our clients to imagine their everyday scenarios living in the completed house and describe their desired interaction with it.
- Uniquely interactive - Our client’s deep involvement in the process does not stop with completion of the brief. Our design meetings are highly interactive, informal and fun.
- Designed to reflect you – Based purely on your lifestyle, aspirations and requirements and free from externally imposed concepts, metaphors and pre-conceptions, a completely fresh and unique design will gradually emerge and it will tell your story not ours.
- Collaborative – We start the conversation with planners early and advise most of our clients to seek pre-planning advice prior to submission of a full planning application. Our experience shows that when properly consulted and liaised with, most planning case officers will be receptive to conduct a professional dialogue, increasing chances of successes.
- Strategic – We tailor a custom planning strategy for each project based on its circumstances such as planning history, local context and specific challenging elements. We sometimes split applications or introduce minor tweaks to the scheme during the consideration period in conversation with the officers to prevent one contentious element from jeopardising approval of the main scheme.
- Professional – Our experience shows that the quality and clarity of the submission in terms of background research, planning history of the property and context, precedent and of course the arguments presented to support the case has a tremendous effect on success rate.
- The decision period clock only starts ticking once the application is validated by the Council, This requires then to check that the forms are completed correctly and that the submission contains all the necessary drawings, statements and reports.
- Although required by law to provide a decision within the statutory eight weeks period, it is not uncommon for councils to miss the deadline of the consideration period, normally only by a few days, sometimes longer.
- In some cases the council may ask us as your agent for an extension of time, this may be requested due to internal reasons or as an acceptable result of a professional discussion that we are conducting with them about certain aspects of the application that they are not sure about.
- Our experience shows that planning officers respond better to projects when they feel consulted and collaborated with. We find that when we truly listen to their often helpful and valid feedback and treat them as consultants for the projects and not representative of an evil enforcing authority, they tend to collaborate well with us and demonstrate increased flexibility.
- Although the council in theory have eight weeks to consider your application, in practice they are constantly overloaded. They will only look at your application in the last few days of the consideration period. If this is the first time that they come across a scheme that they were never consulted about, our chance to secure permission for you in a single attempt is significantly compromised.
- The standard practice is for the council to consider the full planning application as submitted and then issue a yes or no decision. Case officers are not required or even encouraged to enter a discussion with us or accept resubmission of minor changes to the proposed scheme during the consideration period.