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working with waitrose at leckford



An oak frame commercial project, planning consent story from the perspective of oakwrights architectural designer, Darren Blackwell


The Waitrose Farm Shop is located within the Longstock Park Nursery, which is part of the Leckford Estate in Hampshire. Longstock Park Nursery, part of the Leckford Estate owned and managed by Waitrose, lies within Hampshire's picturesque Test Valley. The nursery is set in and around a brick and flint walled garden, and is home to National Collections of Buddleja and Clematis Viticella and the Gilchrist Collection of Penstemon.

waitrose planning sketches

initial sketches

waitrose consented drawings

consented drawings



The conceptual stage of the project started in late 2011, when I initially met up with the Commercial Manager of the Leckford Estate and Anthony Carroll from Oakwrights, planning permission had already been gained for a Farm Shop at the Nursery. The original approved scheme was for a large single storey building, containing a Cafeteria, Farm Shop and education facility. Our design brief was to develop the scheme to one of a more agricultural and sustainable nature, which would be sympathetic and befitting of its rural location. The Farm Shop was to have a welcoming and comfortable refreshment area. There was to be a shop to sell sustainably produced local produce and an education area for visiting schools etc.

The proposed new Farm Shop for the Leckford Estate would be a vast improvement over the existing arrangements, these being a small area for refreshments housed within an existing greenhouse, this was far from welcoming and often unmanned, it was too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. There was also a small shop on the site that was associated with the Nursery selling plants, trees and various related gardening accessories.

The Commercial Manager had some initial discussions with the planning officer to get an informal opinion as to whether a revised application would be supported by the planners. Following some positive feedback we submitted a pre application enquiry in October 2011. The revised scheme submitted was to incorporate a green oak structural framing system, thus giving the internal ambience of a traditional barn. Also an arcade of pergola styled oak posts and beams was proposed through the front elevation to not only ‘soften’ the impact of the full height glazed sections behind, but also to form a natural sun shade with the aide of climbing plants to control the amount of solar gain.

Following positive feedback from the planning officer we prepared and submitted a full planning application in March 2012. We also submitted detailed drawings for building regulations approval at the same time.

Planning approval for the revised scheme was approved on 22 May 2012.

The main oak frame structure, accommodating the Farm Shop and Cafeteria was designed by Oakwrights Frame Designers to incorporate a splendid fully vaulted Green Oak Frame. The main barn style entrance is also formed in Green Oak leading to an impressive Cruck frame arrangement internally.

Oakwrights Partner Builders, Oakland Vale Ltd, became approved contractors for the Waitrose John Lewis Partnership and construction works started on site in January 2013. The Oak frame was installed on site by Oakwrights in February 2013. The build was completed on schedule in August 2013 with the doors opening to the public that same month. The Farm Shop opening was a great success and it has continued to be well supported from both local residents and visitors from much further afield.

To find out more about Oakwrights Commercial Oak framing experience, visit our Commercial section.

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