Red Shute Mill
The Main Character
The client is a family-run firm of landowners with a large Commercial Property portfolio. They invest regularly in their sites with new buildings and facilities in order to maintain client satisfaction and ensure long term relationships. By adopting this approach, they have maintained high occupation rates across all of their sites.
The site was the Red Shute Mill Business Centre, on the edge of Hermitage in Berkshire it is well placed for easy access to the M4 and A34 and is occupied by a mixture of companies, including a timber yard, a coach company and a grain trader. Generally surrounded by fields, it is well screened by existing tree lines, however there is a small group of houses to the west of the site, while the client’s family occupy a couple of houses to the east of the site. The site benefits from direct accesses at two point from the main road and there is a large level change in the areas where the office accommodation is located.
One of the existing tenants on site had requested additional, improved and larger facilities; this included an increase in office accommodation, a new lab facility for grain testing, staff welfare facilities and meeting rooms. The new accommodation would need to be on the same site as their existing office buildings in order to maintain operations and remain adjacent to their storage facilities. Although the project was for our client, the facilities were being purpose built for the tenant who, as part of the arrangement, had signed a 25-year lease for the building. We therefore needed to work closely with both parties, while making sure all final decisions were approved by our client.
Alongside the challenge of creating a new office building, we had to ensure that the full site remained operational during construction. With the way the timescales of this project panned out, the timing of the construction happened at one of the busiest times of year on site: during the harvest, when the greatest amount of grain was being brought to site to be purchased, stored and moved to other facilities.
To maximise our client’s return and explore the key opportunities and constraints for the site, we carried out a feasibility study. This identified that many of the existing office building stock on this area of the site would benefit from replacement with new modern buildings. At feasibility stage we, therefore, put forward a scheme that master planned this area of the site with a series of new buildings. Although our client liked this approach, due to the complications of leases across all the buildings that would have needed demolishing we proceeded with a smaller scheme.
While our client was an experienced land owner, their expertise was in the maintenance and leasing of buildings rather than the construction. We were therefore employed to provide the architecture and project management across all the RIBA work stages, allowing them to focus on their core business without the stress of running a building project. We worked consistently throughout all stages of the project, especially with the contractor during the construction phase, meaning that we were able to deliver the building on time and on budget with both a satisfied tenant and client.
The Final Twist
With the success of this project, we were engaged by the tenant to provide a second building on site, who now wish to make Red Shute a regional centre for their company. They have also employed Scroxton & Partners to work on projects for other sites that they own.