About Us

Ely Design Group is an architectural design practice specialising in all aspects of the design and surveying requirements of residential properties.

The practice offices are in Stretham, near Ely, in Cambridgeshire being formed (50 years ago) in 1974 by John Norman and initially based in Wicken.

Allen Norman, (John’s son), joined the practice in 1999 and took over the running of the business as Managing Director in 2011.

Generally operating within about 25 miles of Stretham, the practice area takes in Downham Market to the North, Bury St Edmunds to the East, Royston to the South and Huntingdon to the West.

Allen’s aim is to help clients transform their ideas into well-designed and comfortable living spaces adding value to their homes. Whilst every property and project is unique, his many years of experience in this field enable him to provide guidance so that common pitfalls might be avoided enabling projects to finish on time and to budget.

Ely Design Group has designed many varied projects including houses and bungalows, extensions, loft conversions and alterations and has experience in working with listed properties and commercial property developments.

Allen Norman | Managing Director

Allen started young, and now accepts that helping his father carry out site measuring by holding the end of the tape at the age of six or seven probably did influence his career path!

On finishing school, Allen worked in the Estate Management Department at University of Cambridge as a Trainee Building Surveyor. During this time he studied on a part-time degree course in Building Surveying at De Montford University, Leicester and graduated, with 2:1 honours, in Building Surveying in 1995. In 1996, he changed employers, moving to Rapleys, the national commercial property and planning consultants. In 1997 he qualified as a chartered building surveyor whilst at Rapleys at the first attempt.

Allen joined his father at Ely Design Group as a partner in 1999 before taking over the running of the practice in 2011. He specialises in the design of new, bespoke residential properties together with extensions, alterations and loft conversions.

He is a fellow of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and member of the Pyramus & Thisbe Society and regularly acts as Party Wall Surveyor for clients who are carrying out building works and also for neighbours who are beside where the works are being carried out. He is also regularly selected as Third Surveyor under the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

Allen is married with two children and lives in the nearby village of Wilburton.

Sadly, Allen’s father John, who started the practice in 1974, died in June 2016.

Our Team

Mary Watkins

Office Manager

Mary joined Labgear as a Customer Services Advisor after leaving school. There she gained NVQ’s in both Customer Service and Office Administration.

She left Labgear in 1999 and joined the University of Cambridge Estate Management Department where she provided secretarial support for the Planning and Property Department. Whilst there Mary obtained a Modern Apprenticeship in Office Administration.

Mary joined Ely Design Group in 2002 and deals with general administrative and secretarial services to ensure the smooth running of the office.

Mary is married, has two children and lives close by in Soham.

Lucy Norman

Architectural 3D Visualiser

Lucy, Allen’s daughter, is a third generation Norman to work at Ely Design Group.

She joined Ely Design Group in 2017 to continue her apprenticeship which she had started with a local letting agency. She successfully completed her NVQ level 3 in Business Administration in late 2017.

She completed her Diploma in Interior Design in July 2018.

Lucy now produces high quality 3D images and renders for clients to visualise Allen’s designs.


The Office Dog!

Margo is now approaching six months old and you’d think butter wouldn’t melt! 

A great addition to our family and EDG.

Raphael Stipic

Surveying Associate

In 2004, after 16 successful years within the Telecoms industry, managing projects and budgets to £23m and teams of up to 150 project staff and inspired by changes brought about by the Housing Act 2004, Raphael decided to change career and become an independent building surveyor with the sole aim of providing competitively priced survey products throughout East Anglia.

After successfully attaining the Diploma in Surveying Practice from The College of Estate Management, he now specialises in and undertakes all types of residential building surveys including listed buildings. Raphael is also a council member of the Residential Property Surveyors Association responsible for the East Anglia region.

Raphael is married with two sons and lives in Kedington – Suffolk.

Neil Ford

Website & Marketing Associate

Neil’s background is in sales and business management, management training, and website optimisation and promotion. He works closely with Allen and Mary maintaining the company’s website, and developing office systems and business opportunities.

Neil lives in Stretham, and is married with four grown up daughters.

He and his wife, Jane, enjoy spending time with their girls and exploring the East Anglia countryside.

Find us
Ely Design Group
3 Short Road,
Stretham, Ely


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