The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s plan to build an extremely energy efficient office building on Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire has been approved by Warwick District Council.
The new AHDB office building will use a range of renewable technologies to achieve the BREEAM standard of excellence and to help minimise the running costs of the building.
The single storey 38,000 sq foot building is being designed and constructed to the highest standards, helped by £4.7million from regional development agency Advantage West Midlands towards AHDB’s relocation and restructuring costs.
The building will meet the BREEAM standard of excellence for eco-friendly construction and provide space for up to 250 staff.
AHDB Chairman John Bridge said: “This is excellent news. We need open plan offices to help us fully deliver the sharing of best practice and other operational efficiencies expected from the restructuring of the levy boards.
“Our staff are delighted at the prospect of only facing one more winter in our temporary offices, largely built as summer pavilions for the agricultural show season and not designed for year-round occupation.
“A real strength of the levy boards has always been in the expertise and quality of the staff. In my experience good working conditions helps to retain and motivate staff.
“The building design and specification reflects an organisation in tune with its commitment to the environment and the well-being of its employees.”
Stuart Kirkwood, Director of Development at Advantage West Midlands, said: “It is tremendously important – particularly at a time of economic uncertainty – that Warwickshire and the West Midlands are able to attract and retain key organisations and high quality jobs.
“This scheme is a major opportunity for the area’s highly skilled workforce and we are proud to work with AHDB to make this a reality and to create a centre of excellence for rural innovation at Stoneleigh Park.”
Construction of the new building should start in the next few months with an estimated build time of one year. A public tender process to appoint a building contractor is well advanced.
Build costs will not be fully known until the tender for the building contractor is complete. However, current estimates are that total project costs inclusive of fees and land purchase will be under £10m, some of which will be offset by AWM grant money. The balance is likely to be largely funded through a commercial mortgage arrangement.
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