Cwrt Farm

The warden's office at Cwrt after renovation

The warden's office at Cwrt after renovation

Project:
A range of farm buildings adapted to create offices and a fish-processing workshop
Location:
Cwrt Farm, Gwynedd

What it is
When renovating redundant buildings, we carefully assess the potential impact of new development so that we can minimise risks to important historic fabric, and ensure that values such as landscape quality are not adversely affected. We prefer to find new or alternative uses that are both sustainable and include sustainable methods and materials.

Cwrt Farm in North Wales had a series of redundant Grade II listed agricultural buildings, which were all of significant historic interest. These were in a poor condition, having been disused for several years for agricultural purposes. They needed a new use to save them from further deterioration.

A project to bring them back into use was devised in collaboration with a group of local fishermen. The nearby cove fishery is the last of a type once widespread around the Llwn peninsula. The fishermen here have fixed pots, which gives the valuable biogenic reefs off Llwn a degree of protection from the scallop dredgers.

What we did and why we did it
In this project we sympathetically converted a former agricultural outbuilding into offices for our wardens; we also created workshops for the local fishermen to process crab and lobster meat in the redundant cowsheds. A ‘whole farm plan’ approach was taken to the project, where the designs were considered as part of the wider setting and the ability to sustain a viable business in the long-term.

One of the key aims was for the external elevations of the buildings and farmyard to retain the appearance of a traditional farm. When creating the wardens’ offices, care was also taken to retain as much of the internal fabric and character of the building as possible. Due to the highly specialised nature of the fishermen’s workshops, a food hygiene consultant was appointed. He advised on the building lay-out, materials that needed to be used for compliance, and gave legislative guidance to both us and the fishermen.

The consultant also obtained the necessary legal consents required by the fishermen to operate at the premises. Our former cowsheds now have a self-contained ‘room within a room’ inserted in them to provide the sterile conditions required for fish processing. This is a totally reversible solution as these units can be dismantled and removed if necessary.

What else did we do?
In addition to the works at Cwrt Farm, we also renewed the old slipway, and renovated the fishermen’s storage hut in the cove at Porthmeudwy. The hut would receive heavy wear in a hostile environment and so needed to be as sustainable as possible. The old slipway was crushed to use as fill for the new slipway. This innovative idea, as suggested by the consultant civil engineer, was a great solution as we could not only re-use material, but also minimise vehicle movements to the site.

Why it was a success
The project achieved its objectives well. The wardens’ meeting room is now well equipped and available for use by groups and partners in the local area for meetings and events. The buildings are being used by the wardens to give talks on local properties, and as a starting point for guided walks. Inside, the fishermen’s workshops are very modern in appearance; however, externally they look like a well-maintained range of farm buildings. An extremely successful outcome.

To find out more about this project see our case study (PDF).