Planning approval for Audley Scarcroft Retirement Village

Gaunt Francis Architects have secured planning approval for Audley Villages’ Scarcroft scheme.

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Gaunt Francis Architects are thrilled to have received planning approval for a care community of 172 residential homes in the village of Scarcroft in Yorkshire. Located some 8 miles North of Leeds, the 20-acre site was the former location of N Power’s Head Quarters.

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We were commissioned by Audley to prepare designs for a new retirement village centred around Scarcroft Lodge. The lodge is a 19th century grade II Listed manor in need of extensive repair and is set within landscaped grounds designated as a major development site within the Greenbelt.

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The proposed scheme consists of 172 two-bedroom units for Audley Retirement, comprising the conversion of the Listed Building, together with new build apartments and cottages.  The design reflects traditional local buildings in stone and render, which are integrated into the landscape using stone walls.  The pattern for the village is a domestic scale central street opening up to a number of courtyards with a variety of different characters owing to the combination of walls, buildings and landscaping in each space; all the while maximising the valuable countryside views to the South.

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The scheme will also feature a library, lounge, restaurant, bar & bistro and private dining room, as well as reception and guest suites. The Health & Well-being extension will be designed sympathetically to the historic building and will includes a club pool, treatment rooms, salon and gymnasium for residents.


Gaunt Francis Architects Director, Gavin Birt, said: “We are thrilled to receive planning consent for Audley’s Retirement Village at Scarcroft. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase that place-making is central to a quality design. To be able to create a full community with traditional buildings (with contemporary twists) and homes for our retirement population is a privilege indeed”.

Planning Approval for Blythe Valley Care Home

Planning granted for Blythe Valley Care Home, designed by Gaunt Francis Architects, on behalf of Octopus Real Estate.

Octopus Real Estate has secured planning consent for a new 80-bed care home located at Blythe Valley Park near Solihull. Gaunt Francis Architects designed the care home to complement the joint vision of providing a high quality, well-designed care home that is both deliverable and functional.


Gaunt Francis Architects were commissioned by Octopus Real Estate, part of the Octopus Group and leading UK specialist real estate investor, to prepare designs for the new care home that will form a key part of the new Blythe Valley Park – an established 2 million square feet mixed development, strategically located in the heart of the UK, surrounded by stunning parkland and leisure facilities.  The 1.4-acre site is to be transformed into an 80-bed care home and will feature a café with terrace at the main entrance, which will provide an amenity close to the new Marl Pool recreation area, lounge and dining areas, garden rooms, greenhouses, and activity rooms for residents.

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Ashley Heath, from Octopus Real Estate said: “Having worked closely with Gaunt Francis Architects on the bespoke specialist design for the proposed 80-bed care home at Blythe Valley Park, we are really pleased to receive planning approval. The high-quality design is centrally located at Blythe Valley Park and sits alongside the new residential developments. The mixed-use nature of the development will ensure a choice for residents in the future when considering quality care options in the local area.

“Having already successfully sourced the land and secured planning permission we look forward to supporting the construction process, sharing further development milestones with the local community, and seeing the design come to life.”


 Director and lead architect Toby Adam, of Gaunt Francis Architects, said: “We are thrilled to have achieved this valuable consent, which continues our 100% planning track record with the great team at Octopus Real Estate and reinforces our experience in the care sector, particularly in residential care which is a growing market for us.”

A review of the past year at GFA!

Last week, staff from GFA attended the prestigious Architect’s Journal AJ100 Awards Ceremony at the Tower of London. We were honoured to have ranked 91st in the AJ Top100 list, which is a major milestone for us and the realisation of a long-cherished ambition. The icing on the cake was to be also nominated for New Member of the Year Award. This recognition is a direct result of the hard work and talent of our employees at Gaunt Francis, and this position on the AJ100 list has truly encouraged us as we strive for future success. What better excuse than for a review of the past year and the moments that have made it such an important one in our 21-year story.

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AJ100 Awards Ceremony

One of the biggest milestones for our company this year was moving our office to Womanby Street in Cardiff. Capital Tower had been our home for many years, but over the last few years we have expanded consistently and now have over 50 staff. We had therefore outgrown the space in Capital Tower and it felt like the right time to make a change. GFA now occupies a beautifully refurbished, five-storey, warehouse building on one of the oldest, most iconic and creative streets in Cardiff city centre. We’ve been here a little over two months but felt very much at home from day one. We have truly made the space our own and it marks a new beginning for us and allows us to do even more of what we do best – creating beautiful places.


Womanby Street

We were proud to be presented with the Gold Award for Best Retirement Development at the WhatHouse? Awards 2019. This Award is the biggest event that celebrates the very best homes. The winning Redwood Retirement Village in Bristol is only the second scheme for Audley that we designed as a complete new build – having already built a stylish development from scratch at award-winning Audley Chalfont Dene. This beautiful retirement village has once again moved our client’s brand forward, and perfectly complements the other restoration and refurbishment schemes we have designed for Audley across the UK, such as Audley Ellerslie Retirement Village. This scheme completed in late 2018 and Audley owners, GFA project architects, the design team, and members of the local community came together to celebrate the opening.


Audley Redwood Retirement Village

More recently, GFA has been appointed as Architects for an ambitious project to redevelop two historic buildings on Westgate Street. The old Post Office and adjoining County Court buildings next to the Principality Stadium will be extended and transformed into a 175-bedroom luxury hotel, which will commence in July 2019 subject to planning consent. 


Westgate Hotel, Cardiff

A key part of growing our business has been to develop graduates entering the profession into fully fledged registered Architects, mentoring and helping them to realise the final component of their architectural education. This commitment has been demonstrated by two of our employees, Maxim Hutton and Bianca Dumea, who recently gained their Part III Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture from Cardiff University and who will both soon be registered by the ARB. Bianca was also awarded the prestigious Stanley Cox Prize for best Diploma student at the Welsh School of Architecture. The whole GFA family could not be more proud of them, and all our staff at GFA, without whom none of the achievement of the past year would be possible. Here’s to another 21 years of success. 


New Cardiff office images revealed!


We are very excited to share with you images of our new office in Cardiff city centre! Womanby Street is one of the oldest and most iconic streets in Cardiff and has been our home for a little over two months, but felt very much at home from day one!


We now occupy a beautifully refurbished, five-storey warehouse building in the heart of the city centre in an area where Cardiff Council hopes to establish a creative and musical quarter.


GFA Managing Director, Alan Francis, says: “We were looking for good quality accommodation in Cardiff with a less corporate feel. We were drawn to the strong architectural style and character of the property which reflects our role as a creative commercial design studio. Another important aspect was the large, well proportioned windows which provide a generous amount of natural light.


“Womanby Street is one of the oldest streets in Cardiff with such a colourful historical background and a great location close to the Principality Stadium , Castle Street, and St. Mary Street.”


More images in the slideshow below!

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We have some very exciting news to share with you all. WE ARE MOVING!  The Capital Tower in Cardiff city centre has been our home for the past 21 years, but having undergone a period of rapid expansion, we have now outgrown its office space and felt it was time to make a change. Our change in address will be effective from 9am on 29th April 2019.

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We will be occupying a five-storey, former quayside building on one of the oldest and most iconic streets in Cardiff city centre, Womanby Street, which we have spent the last 6 months converting and upgrading on behalf of our new landlords, Kames Capital. 

Gaunt Francis Managing Director, Alan Francis said: “Womanby Street is one of the oldest streets in Cardiff with a colourful historical background and a great location close to Cardiff Central train station, the Principality Stadium, Cardiff Castle and St. Mary Street. In the longer term our intention is to convert the rooftop area into a terrace garden to extend our creative space and offer excellent views over the city.” 

We are delighted to be able to make this new space our own. Our new office marks a new beginning and allows us to do even more of what we do best – creating beautiful places. 

Images of our brand new office will be coming soon!



New Retirement Village images unveiled!


We are thrilled to show you all some of our brand new professional photographs of Audley Ellerslie Retirement Village.


The images were taken by the talented Will Pryce and showcase the very best of our architects’ work of Audley Ellerslie.

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Set against the backdrop of the Worcestershire countryside, Ellerslie Retirement Village is situated in the beautiful spa town of Malvern.


Construction of Ellerslie phase II began in May 2016 and comprises 101 retirement properties. Three restored Victorian mansions, including a Grade II listed building, form the centrepiece of the village, complemented by a restored Lodge and a group of sympathetically designed and carefully placed new-build properties.


The village is home to a mix of one and two bedroom apartments and offers luxury facilities including a health club, library, and restaurant, which is accessible to both owners and the local community.


Be sure to follow Gaunt Francis Architects on our official Instagram page to see more beautiful images of our previous and current projects.

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GFA ranks in BD’s 2019 “Ones to Watch” list!

Gaunt Francis Architects is thrilled to have ranked in BD’s “Ones to watch” list of architectural practices worldwide.

Building Design magazine, or “BD”, has cited Gaunt Francis Architects among the “Ones to Watch” for 2019 as part of their prestigious annual World Architecture 100 list of largest architect practices (WA100). Along with 21 other UK firms, we have ranked in the 120th spot, which is a huge achievement and one we could not be more proud of.

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BD, a weekly architectural publication, surveyed over 1000 architecture practices across the globe to rank the top 100 according to the number of fee-earning architects they employ, plus another 25 falling just outside. WA100 serves as a valuable source of insight into architectural growth trends and opportunities.


Gaunt Francis Architects Managing Director, Alan Francis, said “It is an incredible achievement to make the BD “Ones to Watch” list. This ranking is a tribute to the sheer hard work and talent of our employees at Gaunt Francis Architects, and this position on the list will encourage us as we strive for future growth”.

Now in its fifteenth year, the BD World Architecture 100 is published each year and stands as the definitive and most respected annual survey of the world’s largest practices, and is the key reference for clients looking for architects on every continent.


Brand new Retirement Village images unveiled!

We are very pleased to show you all a glimpse of our professional photographs of Audley Redwood Retirement Village.


The images were taken by the talented Will Pryce and showcase the very best of our architects’ work of Audley Redwood, which is situated just outside Bristol.


The photographs capture a real sense of  grandeur and place-making, as well as the stunning interior which is packed with wow-factor furnishings, generating a welcoming vibrancy designed to bring its community together.


Be sure to follow Gaunt Francis Architects on our official Instagram page to see more beautiful images of our previous and current projects.

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Planning approval for Audley Chalfont Dene Retirement Village extension

Gaunt Francis Architects is thrilled to have received planning permission for the extension of our award-winning Audley Chalfont Dene Care Community.


Aerial view of the planned proposal of Chalfont Dene Retirement Village

Our proposals for the site comprises an additional 58 new units, which will seek to maintain the openness of the green-belt, reflect the vernacular architecture of the locality, and build on the success and high quality established at Chalfont Dene.


New Community Hall

In the heart of the scheme we have designed a new “village hall” to serve both the retirement village residents and the wider community in Chalfont St. Peter. The Community Hall will serve as a multi-function flexible space; supplemented by store, a bar and kitchenette and ancillary accommodation, it will also contain a studio which will be used for arts and crafts activities.


Audley Chalfont Dene


Audley Chalfont Dene

Chalfont Dene retirement village lies close to Buckinghamshire’s Chiltern Hills within Chalfont St. Peter. The existing village is built in the style of the local Arts and Crafts movement and is home to 84 luxury cottages and apartments, as well as the Lutyens inspired Main House facilities including the Health and Well-being spa and Bar and Restaurant.


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Audley Chalfont Dene

Redwood Retirement Village wins GOLD at the WhatHouse? Awards!


The WhatHouse? Awards is the country’s biggest event that celebrates the very best homes. This year’s event took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, in London’s Park Lane, with more than 1600 senior industry figures attending the ceremony to celebrate the winners of 20 different categories, covering the wide spectrum of property types and companies in the home building industry. The 37th year of the event was presented by comedian Jack Whitehall, former rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio, and TV presenter, Gabby Logan.


We were absolutely delighted to be presented with the Gold Award for Best Retirement Development. The winning Redwood Retirement Village in Bristol is our 2nd Audley scheme that we have designed as a complete new build – having already built a stylish development from scratch at award-winning Audley Chalfont Dene. We aimed to create a sense of history and grandeur, and so Redwood is focused around a ‘brand new’ manor house, Redwood Hall, with grand columns and a portico, built in a neo-classical and Georgian style. The results of this beautiful retirement village couldn’t have been achieved without members of our team at Gaunt Francis working closely in partnership with the interior designers for the scheme Inside Design Co., Project Management and cost consultants Quartz, Landscape Architects Solty’s Brewster and Services Engineers Q Design.


Here is how the WhatHouse? judges described our design at Redwood: “Packed with wow-factor furnishings, it generates a welcoming vibrancy designed to bring its community together and make owners feel special. All the way from its airy spacious reception area through to the restaurant, the space flows easily”.


A huge thank you to everyone involved. We are extremely proud to have designed the 2018 Gold Award winning retirement village!