Duchy officially opens Root Hill Farm offices

Michael Hunt

The Queen's Duchy of Lancaster property estate managers have officially opened the office complex on the former Estate Yard of Root Hill Farm in Lancashire.

Root Hill Estate Yard on the Whitewell Estate at Dunsop Bridge, in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), has been transformed into offices by The Duchy of Lancaster and its managing agents, Smiths Gore.

Designed by local architect, Duncan Isherwood of Sunderland Peacock in Clitheroe, the newly converted buildings comprise 7,093 sq ft of offices.

The new business address was officially opened by the chancellor of The Duchy of Lancaster, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon last week in the presence of Lord Shuttleworth, and invited guests.

As part of her official opening of the building, Duchy chancellor Baroness Royall congratulated members of the project team and all those involved in breathing life back into the buildings.

She said: "Root Hill Estate Yard is a worthy addition to an already stunning landscape. This is exactly the sort of encouragement that rural and smaller businesses need to help them to stay in the areas in which they live and generate wealth which can be invested back in the local community."

Mark Fogden, a partner at Smiths Gore, added: "The offices have been designed to an excellent standard and are ideal for businesses seeking a high quality base in a traditional rural location.

"Unfortunately, the presence of redundant farm buildings is a common sight across the UK. However, we have found that by maximising their potential through conversion for commercial use, the properties can be resurrected to contribute positively towards the local economy."

The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty partnership has already taken 1,500 sq ft, making it the first organisation to move into the premises.

Donald McKay, AONB officer, said: "Root Hill Estate Yard is in a fantastic location which is not only accessible to the communities we serve but is also close to the surrounding administrative centres of our partner organisations. It is an added bonus that the offices are based in a beautiful natural setting, which is central to all parts of the AONB, from Beacon Fell to Gisburn Forest, the Lune valley to Pendle Hill."

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