03 Sep Welcome to the Rural Business Centre
We would like to welcome you to the South East Cornwall Rural Business Centre.
In what has seemed like the busiest six-month period ever, the South East Cornwall Rural Business Centre is nearing completion and we are seriously excited about welcoming you all to our beautiful new business hub and specialist training centre.
This year has positively flown by. It seems like only a matter of weeks since we were contemplating the future of two large, traditional stone-built barns standing quiet and empty in the watery late-winter sunshine at Antony Pedigree Farm. As the early morning dew steamed gently from their grey slate rooves, we could only hope that our funding bid would be successful, and that work would begin in time to open in the autumn. When the go-ahead finally arrived at the start of April, it was a case of all hands on deck for a stunning transformation.
A new lease of life for redundant buildings
Antony Pedigree Farms is an in-hand arable farming enterprise of the Antony Estate. As the farm has developed and with increased mechanisation, the traditional farm buildings had become redundant. Although maintained, the barns served no farming purpose other than incidental storage. As part of the Estate Strategy for diversification of income and sustainable, multi-functional land and property management, the buildings presented an opportunity to create a hub for the benefit of local business and community organisations. In addition, as a specialist land-based training centre, they could also help to ensure that the requirement for jobs is met with appropriate locally available skills training.
And so it was that work began in the spring to carefully restore and convert the creaky, cobweb-infested structures into the handsome buildings we see today – the South East Cornwall Rural Business Centre, a business hub with a difference.
Rehome, reuse and repurpose
As you might imagine, there was a great deal to consider. The barns were home to a dozen or so species of bat. A bat-loft had to be incorporated into the final design. One of the buildings provided stabling for horses, all of whom needed to be rehomed elsewhere. Floor levels had to be consolidated and in doing so, great slabs of granite lintel and granite rollers were excavated, then set aside for future use. Once the old timber cladding had been carefully removed and cleaned, it was repurposed to form the back of the bar at the Whitsand Bay Golf Club. Meanwhile, in an old, damp storeroom, box after box of old farm paperwork had to be retrieved, sorted and digitised. Not a job for the fainthearted, well done Petty!
After excavating reusing repurposing and rehoming, it was time to make good. Estate timber was used to repair original timbers and create new lintels and canopies above the impressive Iroko windows and doors. New cladding and some of the internal timber detail was crafted from sweet chestnut and beautiful great slices of Oceanic redwood were shaped into chunky windowsills. The aforementioned granite is now clean and will be re-sited to add structure and interest in the landscaped gardens.
As many will know, when dealing with old traditional buildings, it’s important to preserve and enhance as many of the original features as possible. Ours is a Rural Business Centre with an emphasis on land-based operations and rural life and we wanted to maintain the integrity of traditional farm buildings. In doing so we have created an environment that is in keeping with its surroundings and its main focus.
Attention to detail
When you visit the Rural Business Centre, keep your eyes peeled for the detail in the buildings. The impressive Kings Post Trusses, the craggy oak Hips or even an old-style lightbulb buried in a wall (nope, we don’t know either!). With the devil in the detail at every stage of the build and beyond, long after our excellent team of contractors has gone, the team here will attempt to surprise you. A bit of the unexpected here, or the quirky there. The type of things you won’t necessarily expect in a business centre, and that will make your experience here that little bit more memorable.
We are planning an open day towards the end of October. Why not sign up for our newsletter or check back on the website regularly for more information as soon as its published.