Gillingham, Dorset

A headquarters building on a greenfield site in Dorset

Sigma-Aldrich is a leading high-technology company with a requirement for a new UK flagship headquarters in Gillingham, Dorset. The project is located on an edge-of-town greenfield site. Having successfully entered a design competition, Stride Treglown was then appointed to lead the coordination and submission of a full planning application for the scheme. This involved the development of around 3,000sqm of new B1 (a) floorspace for 250 staff with associated car parking, landscaping and ancillary works.

We undertook a comprehensive series of pre-application discussions with the Council’s planning, environmental, design and economic regeneration officers and County Council highways officers. We agreed terms of reference with them, covering approaches to design and planning issues, which would form the basis of the planning application submission.

Using this document as a platform, we worked closely with community groups, district councillors and the Town Council and undertook extensive consultation with local residents and businesses. This enabled us to successfully build up a clear picture of the development for the local community and understand their views on the proposals. This included key messages for these stakeholders, including the number of new jobs to be created, the quality of the design and the primary environmental credentials of the proposal.

The application involved working closely with Stride Treglown’s own architects along with transport, ecology, drainage and archaeological consultants. Because of work we had undertaken at the pre-application stage, the scheme was approved within the 13 week target determination period and under delegated officer powers, despite significant transportation challenges. We also agreed the avoidance of a Section 106 agreement, instead successfully assuring the planners that planning conditions would allow these concerns to be addressed.