Ben Burgess has enjoyed steady growth since moving from King Street to Trowse 27 years ago. We currently employ 245 staff across seven sites located throughout the region including Aylsham, Beeston, Coates, Ellington, Newmarket, Norwich and Oakham. We specialise in the supply, maintenance and hire of agricultural, construction and grounds care equipment.
Our current headquarters has been operating at capacity for many years. Lack of space has led to several operational issues including the use of 3 off-site storage areas and staff having to park on surrounding public roads.
We have been actively seeking to relocate since 2013, engaging with South Norfolk Council to gauge suitability of a number of potential sites which would allow our Beeston and Aylsham branches to continue giving local support to our customers. The Norwich site has two roles, firstly to be the service centre for our customers in South Norfolk and secondly a head office / training centre for the group.
We located a potential site at Swainsthorpe in 2016 and have spent 2 years developing the proposal for a multi-million pound purpose built single occupier headquarters development. We have engaged with specialist consultants including Landscape, Flood, Highways, Arboricultural, Heritage, Archaeological, Ecological, Lighting, Energy and Noise who have guided our requirements to develop this site with consideration to the local area.
Following a public consultation which was held in St Peters Church, Swainsthorpe in July 2018 a planning application has now been submitted to South Norfolk Council for a proposed development of a new headquarters and associated infrastructure on 11.51 hectares of land to the west of A140 Norwich to Ipswich Road including two buildings totalling 96,520 square feet and including a permissive footpath allowing walkers to circumnavigate the site.
The site layout has been based on mitigating the impact on the wider landscape specifically the village of Swainsthorpe and the historic church with the building being located to the rear of the site, reducing the impact on the wider views from the A140.
The development involves levelling the central-western area of the site with it being at least 3.5 metres below the village line providing a plateau for the main office, agricultural equipment display, sales areas, parts areas and workshops with a smaller higher plateau in the northern part of the site providing further storage. A machinery storage area will be located in a 4.5 metre deep depression at the front of the site allowing landscaping to enhance the most prominent views towards the village.
The frontage of the main building has been broken up into distinct sections to create interest with varying shadows, depths and heights contributing to a reduction in overall mass with curtain wall glazing to help merge the connection between the landscape and the building. The buildings will utilise Corton cladding (Weathering Steel) which generates an appearance of earthiness providing an organic element to soften the built form and allow it to merge into the wider context.
The intention is for the proposed development to be served via an upgraded access onto the A140. The proposed layout of the site allows for two interchangeable access options including a new ghost island arrangement, or three-arm roundabout.
69% of the site is either parkland with trees, grassland planting areas or part of the comprehensive surface water drainage system helping merge the development into the wider environment.