The move comes as the £41 million restoration project of the Kew and the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse nears completion. Part of the five-year long restoration involved replacing the glasshouse’s whole heating system with a more environmentally-friendly and energy efficient one, and installing a metering system so energy use can be monitored in the future.
Williams’ first task in his new job will be a full audit of the structures in the gardens, which includes 22 other glasshouses including the world famous Palm House. He wants to install more metres to accurately measure energy use and identify where new systems could save money. Following that he will develop a five to 10-year plan to manage and upgrade Kew’s buildings, with energy consumption and monitoring and more space to support commercial activities among the considerations on Williams’ desk.
"I can’t wait to get into it properly," he told Horticulture Week. "I’ve been here a while and I can see opportunities to use what I’ve learnt on the Temperate House and apply it on the rest of the site.
Williams said none of the other glasshouses were in immediate need of refurbishment.
"We need to do things properly. We are constrained by budgets but we have to maintain Kew as a world class visitor attraction.
"We’re being very ambitious as an organisation. The building stock has to support that. There’s a whole range of options we have, it’s very exciting."
Williams has a background in construction in both the public and private sector and prior to Kew spent three years working on the London Olympic Games 2012 overlay delivery.