New offices for Bakewell Show Oraganisers

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The Bakewell Agricultural & Horticultural Society has a superb new facility which meets the needs of staff, directors and the various Bakewell Show committees, beginning a new chapter in the story of one of the oldest and greenest agricultural events.

The Bakewell Agricultural & Horticultural Society organise the annual Bakewell Show – a show with nearly 200 years of history and one which has evolved over time from a simple agricultural display to the diverse event it is today.

Affectionately known as ‘the chicken shed’ the 60-year-old wooden offices used to organise and manage the Bakewell Show had deteriorated so badly they were becoming unusable. Although replacement offices on the showground were proposed in 2008 and plans drawn up, the project was considered too expensive and shelved.

Pinelog, who specialise in architecturally designed leisure buildings has its offices and factory just under a mile away, so the Society realised that if anyone could help them with a new building and bring it in on budget, Pinelog could. The plans were passed to Pinelog who, rather than cost out existing plans, submitted alternative proposals. These were for a contemporary structure which reflected the traditional agricultural roots of the show. It would be built using local labour and locally sourced ‘green’ materials to minimise the carbon footprint. Most importantly, Pinelog’s proposals meant that new offices could be built for half the cost of the original scheme.

As the site is within the Peak Park planning area, the new building was sympathetic to stringent policies and with Pinelog’s technical assistance and experience of designing buildings for sensitive areas, planning permission was obtained.

The new timber-framed building is entirely in keeping with the Society’s ethos, being built to the highest possible ecological standards and incorporating many environmental features. The showground is on a flood plain which meant the building had to be raised by two feet. It has large sloping buttresses which echo the nearby limestone escarpment. The imaginative use of windows makes the roof appear to be floating.

The two side elevations are clad in stone from a local quarry and the rear elevation constructed from sustainable larch. Inside are offices for staff and directors and a meeting room which can be sub-divided to meet the needs of the various show committees. Redwood boarding, again from a sustainable source has been used for ceilings and other fittings.

Low maintenance aluminium windows together with the timber-framing ensure that the building exceeds the statutory energy efficiency requirements and each room is fitted with energy efficient lighting and sensors which automatically turn the lights off if there is no-one in the room.

Most of the people who worked on the contract were from the Bakewell area. Some 50 tons of stone and five tons of timber were used in construction – all from sustainably managed sources and as far as possible, Forestry Stewardship Council secured.

“We are absolutely delighted with the new building”said Show Manager Janet Bailey. “We have worked very closely with Pinelog, the planners and the Peak Park to create a Bakewell Show office which will not only serve our needs now, but for many years in the future. It not only provides a new facility for meetings but also reinforces our commitment to developing this prestigious venue to the benefit of the county’s agricultural economy.”

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robert paterson

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