“Concertus had a challenging brief adapting an old and much loved building to a home for a number of different services. They have used flair and skill in turning the old building into something which is modern and attractive whilst retaining its character and distinctive features. All feedback from our users has been positive which speaks for itself.” – Alison Wheeler, General Manager, Suffolk’s Libraries, Industrial and Provident Society
The Brief: We were asked to investigate and propose a solution on how the former primary school building in Brandon, Suffolk could be remodelled and refurbished to accommodate a number of community services and organisations under one roof. There was also a remit to improve the car park and create better links to the shopping area.
The Aim: Suffolk County Council wanted to improve public access to services and provide a more attractive environment for users. The shared location would enable service improvements by encouraging closer working and integration of common ‘front of house’ functions.
The Scope: We delivered a total project management package which included planning and consultation, design, project management, construction, costing, M&E, land transfers and lettings. The building underwent a major transformation through internal remodelling and a full refurbishment. A new dedicated entrance and reception area was created, together with links to the adjoining town council offices and Forest Heath District Council public car park. All work was carried out whilst maintaining and preserving the existing Victorian features. In particular, the extension was designed with Zinc Cladding; a material carefully chosen to complement and enhance the original Victorian brickwork whilst allowing a clear definition between the existing and new.
The Result: The Brandon Centre is now a focal point for the community and a resounding success for our client and end users. The old neglected school building has been sympathetically refurbished and extended, transforming it into a vibrant community hub that is now home to a number of facilities and provides better community services efficiently under one roof. These include Brandon library, Forest Heath District Council, Brandon Safer Neighbourhood Team, Brandon Pre-school Playgroup and a children’s centre.
Measures of success:
• The project was selected as an eastern regional finalist for the Civic Trust Awards 2015 and achieved highly commended in the RICS East of England awards under the Community Benefit category.
• Reuses a local landmark in the town
• Good example of sustainability
• Gives the community a focal point that is multi-functional
• Reinforces the community identity and ethos
Stakeholder Collaboration: Concertus worked with the range of stakeholders, partners and end users including:
• Suffolk County Council
• Suffolk Libraries
• Suffolk Constabulary
• West Suffolk Partnership (Forest Heath District Council)
• Brandon Town Council
• Brandon Pre-school Playgroup
• Keystone Development Trust
• Local and Wider Community Groups