Thursday, 20 July 2017 00:00

Pensthorpe shortlisted for national award celebrating buildings excellence

Written by  The All Things Norfolk team
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Pensthorpe LABC Building Awards 2017 5 Cottages Pensthorpe LABC Building Awards 2017 5 Cottages

The spectacular transformation of five former farm workers’ cottages and the creation of a unique indoor adventure play centre at Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, is in the running for a prestigious national award.

Pensthorpe’s management team has been invited to the grand final of the Local Authority Building Control Awards at London’s Westminster Park Plaza in November, having won Best Inclusive Building at the East Anglian regional finals.

“It is thrilling to learn that one of our projects has been honoured by judges in the LABC Awards – the largest business-to-business awards in the building control sector,” said Pensthorpe’s Commercial Director, Drew Payne. “We are all delighted – and all the more so because we were not expecting it.”

The project was nominated by Peter Wearmouth, District Building Control Surveyor at North Norfolk District Council. He said it had been a pleasure to be involved in the development – the only winner from the authority’s area at the regional awards.

 “Hootz House and Five Cottages is a scheme North Norfolk can justifiably take pride in,” said Mr Wearmouth.


Pensthorpe LABC Building Awards 2017 presentation. Drew Payne (left), Commercial Director and Deb Jordan, owner of Pensthorpe Natural Park, receive their latest award from Peter Wearmouth, District Building Control Surveyor at North Norfolk District Council.

Conversion of the five cottages has taken place alongside the £1m Hootz House, an iconic nature-themed indoor children’s play area, designed to inspire and engage the next generation of nature lovers and conservationists, teaching them to care for the environment and provide Pensthorpe with an all-year, all-weather day visitor attraction.

Built from sustainably-sourced timber, the cladding of Hootz House is perforated with holes to create a habitat for bird and insect life and has already won awards for Pensthorpe, multiple winner of Norfolk’s Best Large Visitor Attraction in the EDP Norfolk Tourism Awards.

Parts of the Five Cottages building date back to the 18th Century – and gained nationwide TV exposure as home to the popular BBC Springwatch series for three years between 2008 and 2010. Over the past two years renovation work has transformed the Grade II listed Five Cottages.

“We have worked closely with our contractors and planning and building control officers to achieve the best combination of sympathetic renovation and groundbreaking new build that we can,” said Drew Payne.

“We think the results are spectacular and we now have a development that sits very nicely in this beautiful part of the Wensum Valley. It complements all the great conservation work which has been going on here for many years.”

Five Cottages houses the Pensthorpe Natural Park and Pensthorpe Conservation Trust offices – and much more besides. It offers spectacularly light and airy meeting and conference rooms and a new garden room and water court, providing a perfect event, conference, and wedding venue, enjoying beautiful views across the lakes and beyond.

It is also home to Creative Chiropractic, which offers chiropractic care, sports and therapeutic massage and reflexology and rehabilitation therapy in a soothing, natural setting. Verbatim, which offers psycho-therapeutic services, education assessments, consultancy and training has also joined the Five Cottages family


“Promoting wellbeing is integral to all we do at Pensthorpe; belief in the healing and restorative value of the natural environment is a core part of our ethos and co-owner Deb Jordan’s vision for Pensthorpe to be used for holistic healing,” said Mr Payne. “The 5 Cottages and Hootz House project was conceived as part of that philosophy. It is pleasing not just to win the regional award, but to know that award recognises the inclusive nature of the development.

“We’re also grateful to the superb work put into the scheme by project partners including architect Adam Khan, structural engineers Structure Workshop, steel-framed building specialists A C Bacon Engineering and builders Bunting & Son,” said Mr Payne.

Pensthorpe Natural Park ,near Fakenham in North Norfolk, is a 700-acre natural park combining stunning areas of wetland, gardens, meadows, farmland and a conservation centre. It is owned by Bill and Deb Jordan. Bill is the founder of Jordans breakfast cereals. Norfolk-born Deb oversees day-to-day management of the Parkpensthorpe.jpg

The Park provides a unique haven for some of the UK’s rarest and most endangered wildlife. It attracts families, walkers, gardeners and bird spotters, all keen to see the beautiful surroundings and the very special selection of species that either live there permanently or migrate to the expansive wetland area throughout the year.

Pensthorpe Natural Park also has nature-themed indoor and outdoor adventure play areas, designed to inspire and engage the next generation of nature lovers and conservationists. For more details please visit their website at


Last modified on Thursday, 20 July 2017 15:51

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