Duchy completes latest rural office project

The Queen's Duchy of Lancaster property estate managers have finished the conversion of farm buildings in Lancashire into offices.

Root Hill Estate Yard on the Whitewell Estate at Dunsop Bridge, in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), now contains 7,000 sq ft of offices in six self-contained units. Quoting rents are £10/sq ft.

Specialist architect Duncan Isherwood of Sunderland Peacock in Clitheroe, along with Fylde Interiors of Lytham, oversaw the restoration of the stone barns and stables – where Derby winning horse Kettledrum was stabled in the 19th Century.

The first unit has already been let to the AONB, part of Lancashire County Council, which has taken 1,500 sq ft of office space. The AONB relocated from Preston city centre to the more suitably rural location.

Original architectural features such as panelled walls and roof trusses have been retained and a range of sustainable and natural materials have been used throughout the renovation. British sheep's wool was used as an environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional glass fibre insulation, whilst heating and cooling in each unit will be supplied using a heat pump system and wood burning stove.

Mark Fogden from Smiths Gore, the Duchy's managing agents, said: "Root Hill Estate Yard offers a totally unique office space. The buildings are steeped in history and boast an excellent location with stunning views and the green credentials to match. It's therefore not surprising that we've had a great deal of interest in the scheme, despite the current economic climate."

The first farm conversion by the Duchy was completed at the start of this year at Crewe Hall Farm in Cheshire. The successful pilot scheme, in a joint venture with Maple Grove Developments, resulted in the decision to roll out the concept around the Duchy estate.

The Duchy of Lancaster was founded in the 13th century and has an estate of 18,700 hectares across England and Wales. The estate ranges from urban developments to farms and five landed estates in Lancashire totalling 11,500 acres.

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