Work begins on £1m garden centre restaurant

Work is in progress on a £1 million botanical-style restaurant at a Dorset garden centre after Malcolm Scott Consultants prepared detailed plans for an design within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty adjacent to an A road.

The restaurant at Groves Garden Centre in Bridport is being constructed with the help of detailed drawings prepared by MSC’s architectural technologist Alexandra Ginés Heiwegen, the firm of master planning consultants having secured planning permission for the 176-cover facility and other site developments.

Chris Primett, of MSC, said: "There were a number of considerations in preparing this concept design. Firstly, the centre is located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so we had to give careful consideration to ensuring that our proposed structure wouldn’t have a negative impact on that.

"Secondly, the restaurant needed to be tall – Groves had previously been instructed by the Environment Agency to raise the internal floor level of its coffee shop to a minimum of 4.3m AOD above the existing ground level – meaning that our final design had to be both eye-catching and sympathetic to its surroundings."

The finished designs were created to catch the eye of the many thousands of people travelling along the A35 some 10 metres away, and use curved glass panes to complement the surrounding area.

Primett said: "The building is positioned to curve away from the A35 rather than presenting a vertical elevation, and while we would ideally have chosen glass cladding to the roof and sides nearest the A35, the internal use within that particular part of the restaurant; the customer toilets and kitchen, meant that a solid cladding material would be required for that aspect.

"The attraction of the curved glasshouse is that it presents a horticultural message, both in the way the surrounding tees are reflected in the glazing, and by way of the fact that diners can see through it to the landscape beyond.

"We have previously used the same glasshouse at another centre so we were able to demonstrate how well the structure would fit within its setting, and we’re looking forward to seeing the finished building, which has an anticipated completion date of May 2018."

Charlie Groves, of Groves Garden Centre, said: "We were extremely pleased with the attention to detail in the plans that Chris and the team put forward for our striking new restaurant, and we’re excited to see the final construction.

"With catering representing such a huge revenue stream for garden centres, and with our existing coffee shop being such an important resource for us, we wanted to maximise our customer offering while ensuring that whatever restaurant we unveiled would be welcomed by local residents.

"We’re confident that, once completed, this restaurant will attract additional footfall and extended visits for the business."

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