Wednesday, 20 February 2013

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Jim Larcombe


IN March 2011, young architectural consultant Jim Larcombe decided to go it alone and set up his own business. Despite doing so in the middle of a recession, his Lyme Regis-based company, named Jim Larcombe Architectural Consultant, has gone from strength to strength and he has just opened a new office having previously worked from home. Jim, 22, was born and bred in Lyme Regis, attending the Woodroffe School before gaining an ONC and HNC in Building Studies at Exeter College.

WHY did you decide to set up your own business?
The idea of setting up my own business has always appealed to me and, with plenty of local contacts through Lyme Regis Football Club and friends of the family, I gradually started picking up private work. People thought I was mad setting up a business in the middle of a recession but I always had plenty of support and it has certainly paid off. To date, I have taken on over 120 projects in slightly under two years. I currently have freelance help from an RIBA registered architect, a couple of architectural technicians and some office help - business is booming! 

WHAT services do you offer?
The architectural services that we offer include measured surveys, which are used primarily to help with the design stage, carrying out surveys for Land Registry plans, a full design package which can include a 3D model of the proposal along with freehand concept sketches and 2D drawings as necessary for planning applications. We will take on any size planning application anywhere in the country. We also provide a full set of Building Regulation drawings and offer a site supervision service.

WHAT job are you most proud of to date?
I have recently gained planning permission for an ultra contemporary project in Lyme Regis, in a cul-de-saq of traditional 1970s bungalows. The client knew it was not going to be a straightforward application and gave me a year to obtain planning permission but the application was turned around in just two and a half months. This has given me the encouragement to take on more ambitious projects. 

WHAT would your ideal architectural job be?
I would love to get my hands on a new housing estate and design some contemporary new builds rather than your traditional pitched roof, uninspiring new builds that are so common these days. We are so fortunate to be in an area with fantastic countryside and coastal views that  need to be maximised. 

HOW do you hope to expand your business in the future?
Within the next five years I am hoping to open another office, not far from Lyme Regis, and try to maximise the current workflow. This will not only establish the business outside of Lyme Regis but also provide more jobs for local people, which is something I am all for. 

TELL us about the Upkyme school project you’re involved in...
I have been quite fortunate to help Mrs Ethelston’s Primary School in Uplyme try to obtain planning permission for a new school. I approached a team of volunteers in May 2011 with a view to help in whatever capacity. It was early days of being self-employed and I wanted to try and integrate myself into projects going on in the local area. I was later appointed along with three other consultants to assist the school on an outline planning application, which was successful. The school had been trying to obtain permission on this site for around 25 years and to be part of a team that helped to achieve this gave me great satisfaction.

WHAT do you like about living in Lyme Regis?
I have a great passion for the town and it gives me great pleasure to have an office in Lyme and I’m fortunate to still be able to live here. I love the fact that you are no more than a 10-minute walk to the seafront, although the walk back up the hill isn't so enjoyable! 

WHAT would you add to the area if you could?
The town is crying out for low-cost housing. It is extremely hard to be able to work in the town and afford to buy a house here. I am willing to help any potential developers who would be interested in trying to provide this option to first-time buyers.  Also, having moved into my new office three weeks ago in Church Street and seeing near miss after near miss right outside my window, it would be nice to see a one-way system put in place, or traffic lights to be installed further up the road towards the London Inn. 

WHAT are your personal interests?
I’m a member of Lyme Regis Football Club and it is something that I am only too happy to help out with in whatever way possible. I have been involved with the club since I was four years old. If you haven't been up there, I strongly recommend giving it a try. I was fortunate to be able to help out when it came to building new changing facilities and I designed the extension. Granted, the building isn't the most aesthetically pleasing in the world now but it provides the additional space required. It’s something the whole club should be very proud of. 

WHAT would you do if you won the Lottery?
Obviously I would build my own house, it’s a dream that I hope comes true one day. I would also invest in new premises for the business and attempt to create as many new jobs within the town as possible. I would make sure that the football club was financially sound and would donate money to both Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation. 


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