Tag Archives: North Yorkshire

Restoration Work Of Historic Skipton Building Nears Completion

Frontage works to Skipton Town Hall are set to be completed later than planned after a delay in sourcing suitable and matching stone.

The exciting restoration works to the historic Grade II-listed building frontage began earlier this year thanks to funding secured from Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zones grants programme. However, the project has experienced delays in acquiring a specific stone type to replace the deteriorated stone and match the existing colour. Because of this, works are now set to be complete in the New Year.

So far in its latest and final phase of redevelopment, the impressive building – a cultural hub for Craven – has undergone essential repair works to the roof, cleaning and descaling of the front, joinery works and redecoration of windows, plastering and replacement lighting, plus 90% completion of the repointing work to the façade.

Looking ahead, the scaffolding is set to be removed later this week whilst more low level plastering is undertaken and new hand rails are to be installed. Following in January the building will also see new doors, along with new signage and the installation of its flagpole. The project will also see refurbished telephone kiosks reinstalled in front of the Skipton Town Hall, along with new furniture and planters to the setts. The kiosks will become extensions of the museum and gallery inside the Town Hall and staff will be working with heritage groups and creatives to reimagine these spaces – so watch out for further news on this!

Skipton Town Hall, which is owned and managed by Craven District Council, opened its doors to the public in June 2021 having undergone a £5million restoration project to the main building. The major scheme involved restoration and refurbishment of the museum and the building of a museum store; and creation of a new build extension for a dedicated education room, dressing rooms for the Concert Hall performance space and additional facilities including a Changing Places Toilet.

Since then it has grown from strength-to-strength attracting esteemed national and international performers who have taken centre stage, helping to draw in large and appreciative audiences to Skipton.

Chairman of Craven District Council and lead member for Enterprising Craven, Councillor Simon Myers said: “The plans are exciting and carefully considered and the end result promises to be something special. While there are delays due to the sourcing of the correct stone, I am pleased to see the completion of the works so far and I am confident works will be complete by the end of January 2023.”

Danielle Daglan, the Council’s Cultural Services Manager, added: ”We’re pleased with the work undertaken so far and are looking forward to full completion of the project. We are obviously disappointed that works could not be undertaken all together within the original timeframe, but challenges are being felt across the building sector at the moment and so we will manage the delay as best we can, ensuring the venue looks as good as possible for Christmas and then looking ahead to the final detail completion not long after that in the New Year.”

Modern & Energy Efficient Leisure Facilities Progressing Well

Work to provide new modern and energy-efficient leisure facilities at the Hydro in Harrogate and in Knaresborough are progressing well.

Following Harrogate Borough Council’s commitment to ensure people move more, live well and feel great; the existing facility in Harrogate is being refurbished to provide a 400sqm fitness suite, a new sauna and steam suite, improved reception and café and an overhaul of the existing gym and leisure facilities.

Outside, the building is being remodelled to provide a reconfigured car park, bicycle storage and electric vehicle charging points.

The existing gas boilers have already been replaced with air source heat pumps and 250 solar panels, as well as new metering and energy monitoring and control systems. These energy efficiency measures come following a successful bid from the borough council through the government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) public sector decarbonisation scheme, and are anticipated to half the carbon footprint of the leisure centre.

The diving structure is also being replaced so that it can continue to create and nurture future Olympians, such as Jack Laugher MBE and Oliver Dingley.

Councillor Stanley Lumley, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport, and chair of the board of directors at Brimhams Active, said: “We want to create a healthier, more active population living longer, more independent and happier lives. And by investing significantly in creating new leisure facilities and refurbishing others, we’ll be able to deliver this vision.”

The strip-out of the internal fabric of the Hydro has revealed a number of areas that also require remedial attention. Namely some improvements to the fire protection of the steel frame, the addition of wall restraints, replacement of corroded steelwork, re-securing of soffit boarding and resolving air leakage and heat loss between the roof and the external walls.

Councillor Lumley added: “Refurbishment projects often discover things that need to be resolved to adhere to current building regulations. By carrying out the work now, the building can conform to the latest legislation and be as energy-efficient as possible, which will allow people across the Harrogate district to keep fit and active for many years to come.”

The project is scheduled to be completed by April with an opening in May, once staff have been trained on the new operating procedures.

The new Knaresborough Leisure and Wellness Centre is on target to open at the end of August 2023 as construction work has benefitted from good ground conditions and weather.

Once complete it will provide a six-lane 25metre pool, activity pool with flume, sauna and steam room, fitness suite and studio, spin studio, café, electric car charging points and bicycle storage.

It is being built to the BREEAM standard of ‘Excellent’ which provides third-party certification of the assessment of the sustainability and energy performance for buildings.

It will incorporate high efficiency building materials, air source heat pumps and solar panels to reduce the carbon footprint. Achieving this BREEAM accreditation will contribute to the council’s vision to have a net zero-carbon economy by 2038.

Once complete, the existing pool will close and be demolished, to be replaced by the new play area. This is due to take a further 15-weeks.

Like all of the borough council’s other leisure facilities, they will be managed day-to-day by Brimhams Active that has recently marked its first birthday.

Mark Tweedie, managing director of Brimhams Active, said: “This unprecedented level of investment from Harrogate Borough Council will allow Brimhams Active to further transform from a conventional leisure provider to a comprehensive health and wellbeing company and truly maximise its offer to residents across the Harrogate district.”

“And by doing so we can ensure people of all ages, from all walks of life, will be able to live a healthy lifestyle and stay active for longer.”

ECON’s Finance Director In Running For Two Awards

Beverley Shepherd is nominated for Northern Finance Director of the Year – Leadership, and Best Northern Finance Director of a Limited Company £25m – £100m, a title she won four years ago

Bev began her career at Ripon-based Econ Engineering in 2014 as its Company Accountant before being promoted to Finance Director three years later.

Family-owned and operated Econ manufactures eight out of ten of the UK’s winter road maintenance vehicles, employs a workforce of just under 250 and this year opened a new, £7m engineering hub at Sowerby, near Thirsk.

Beverley said: “It is an honour to be shortlisted for these awards. The interview panel was easy to talk to and it was a good chance as a candidate to reflect on the work I’ve achieved over the last year. Congratulations to all the other finalists and I am looking forward to the final in September.”

Econ Engineering’s Executive Director Jonathan Lupton said: “Bev is a highly-valued and respected member of our senior leadership team. Being shortlisted for two Northern Finance Director of the Year awards is a testament to the outstanding contribution she makes to our business.”

The Northern Finance Director Awards recognise and celebrate the exceptional talent of finance directors and their teams across the North of England.

The Northern Finance Director Awards embrace all that is brilliant about finance directors, who are often the unsung heroes of any business. Traditionally responsible for sustaining business continuity and managing cash flow, the modern finance director now exhibits creative thinking and strategic influence, as well as demonstrating leadership.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony and dinner in September.

York Dementia Care Home Receives A Garden Makeover

Award-winning garden designer Luke Arend recently designed a garden for a Dementia care home in York with plants donated by a local nursery firm, Johnsons of Whixley.

St Catherine’s in Shipton by Beningbrough is a dementia specialist care home run by Wellburn Care Homes which has recently gone through a complete transformation after months of research, development, planning and design.

The transformation sees innovative dementia-friendly interiors, gardens and exteriors added all of which were installed with the needs of patients with dementia in mind.

Garden designer Luke Arend, worked to a brief to tempt residents outside, and enjoy the garden with family members. It included functional requirements such as wheelchair access, safe paths with no anxiety-inducing dead-ends and clear edges, safe sensory plants (no poisonous, spiky, or thorny), plants which mark seasonal change, a safe water feature, dappled shade, clear views from the building and raised beds for interaction with the planting.

Luke created concept plans and mood boards and spoke to residents and family members about the design and considered garden features, materials, furniture, lighting and safe plants to invoke a positive, beautiful environment and memories.

Speaking about the benefits of the garden, garden designer, Luke Arend said: “ there is now a strong body of evidence of the enormous physical and mental benefits of just being in a garden and nature for patients with dementia including evoking memories, increasing confidence and socialisation, and importantly decreasing agitation.”

The garden is now complete and includes wet-poor rubber flexible non-slip paths, a beautiful Victorian-style central Gazebo, raised beds, a water feature, furniture, sculptures and memory-invoking plants.

The plant donation from Johnsons of Whixley was worth over £500 and included Hydrangeas, Skimmias, Echinaceas, Geraniums, Geums, Helleborus, Hostas, Lavenders, Lupins, Nepeta, Paeonia, Roses, Pulmonaria, Salvias, Vincas, Clematis, Buddleia and fatsia.

The aim was to include plants that residents are familiar with to help invoke positive memories, including lavenders, tulips, geraniums and roses.

Johnsons of Whixley is located between Harrogate and York and is just 2.5 miles from the A1 at Junction 47 they are one of the UK’s largest commercial nurseries supplying 5-6 million plants annually to landscaping projects throughout the UK.

Garden designer, Luke Arend said: “It’s so rewarding to see residents and family members enjoying the garden and savouring being outdoors. A huge thank you to Johnsons of Whixley for supporting this project and making it a reality.”

Discussing the donation, Johnsons marketing manager, Eleanor Richardson said: “It’s great to give something back to our local community, there are currently around 900,000 people with dementia in the UK so it’s great to support our local Dementia care home. We hope our plants bring joy to residents, staff and visitors of the care home for many years to come.”