A second prestigious contract in as many years has allowed a Yorkshire architect to plan for expansion.
Townscape Architects was the creative force behind the £1.4m renovation of a 16th Century barn, completed at Christian charity Caring For Life’s headquarters on the edge of Cookridge near Leeds in October last year (2012).
The historic building – thought to have been the scene of an argument over taxes between Cromwell and Lord Fairfax after the Battle of Marston Moor – has been given a new lease of life as a high-quality restaurant and farm shop run as a social enterprise.
However, as one project was completed, another began with Harrogate-based Townscape selected to design a new £3.5m centre for injured jockeys on the edge of Malton.
Ryedale planners last week approved plans for Jack Berry House on Old Malton Road, which allows the Injured Jockeys Fund to offer fitness and rehabilitation facilities to riders from the north of the UK.
Work is expected to start on the new building in October this year, with the new centre expected to open in the autumn of 2014.
Managing director Nick Silcock said:
Naturally, we’re thrilled a small practice like ours has been given another chance to show what we can do. Designing The Granary for Caring For Life was a good challenge as it meant being creative within the boundaries of all the regulations which apply to a Grade 2 Listed building.
With Jack Berry House, it’s a little different as we’re creating a new building but our key priority remains blending state-of-the-art contemporary design with the historic qualities of Malton – a beautiful and traditional Yorkshire market town.
Mr Silcock confirmed the contracts – worth an estimated £270,000 – have allowed Townscape to plan for the future and the practice is currently looking to recruit additional staff.
We now have the solid foundation we need for our expansion. “We’ve not done badly over the last couple of years; the housing market may have been flat but more people have been looking to extend their properties rather than move house.
Having these two projects in our portfolio allows us to demonstrate not only our commitment to quality, but also our ability to deliver more complex schemes too.
A chartered member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Mr Silcock founded Townscape Architects just as the economic downturn began in 2007, bucking the trend to record a 30 per cent year-on-year growth over six successive years, with annual turnover now estimated at £110,000.
With offices in Copthall Bridge House in Harrogate’s town centre, the company currently employs three people with recruitment expected to take the headcount to five within the next couple of months.
Mr Silcock said:
Of course, we’re proud to be linked to both these projects but we have to make sure we take things a step at a time. We have new other new projects in the pipline – including an indoor riding school and a church and community centre – but sustained growth tends to be the result of a cautious approach.
We have built our business on traditional the values of good customer service, competence and a flair for design so, although I’m delighted with how we’ve performed in a competitive market over the last few years, we have to make sure we keep our feet on the ground.