Two Wetherspoons public houses have been created by Blackburns through construction, conversion, extension and fit-out work. The new Wetherspoons establishments are located in Stowmarket, Suffolk, and Thetford, Norfolk.
A derelict office and builder’s yard were redeveloped to create a Wetherspoons, The Willow Tree, in Stowmarket with seating for up to 300 people, a state-of-the-art kitchen, an outdoor terraced area and a street-side café area.
The same team were requested by Wetherspoons to work on a conversion project in Thetford, The Red Lion, which included the installation of a first-floor cellar and the addition of a 170-square-metre extension. A contemporary bar was built and the original fireplace was converted into a double-sided open grate. Parts of the building date back to the 17th century and areas of the original flint work were left exposed. Works were completed in 13 weeks.
The proximity of neighbours either side of the Stowmarket site, as well as a six-metre retaining wall and a party wall to the rear, made access to the site incredibly restricted. Despite the challenges, the team managed to complete the project in 18 weeks, eight weeks earlier than the original 26-week programme.
In week four of construction, all substructure brick and blockwork were completed, including 2.7-metre walls at the rear of the site. Approximately 6,500 blocks and 8,000 bricks were laid in this one week alone.
Kevin Church, project manager, attributed the success to the honest and open relationship with the architect and structural engineers, as well as the hard work of the labourers on-site.
An unusual oast house feature was added to the Stowmarket scheme mid-way through and is surrounded by seating.
‘This shows what can be achieved when the design is proactively managed, client direct contractors are positively coordinated, and an enthusiastic site team take on board a challenge.’
Rob Carter, R G Carter