05th February 2014

Turnstone Estates and Britannia Construction complete Rowley Arts Centre

Turnstone Estates and Britannia Construction have completed the construction of the £7 million Rowley Arts Centre in St Neots, paving the way for the fit-out of a new six-screen Cineworld cinema and four restaurants.

The leisure development on Huntingdon Street sees the regeneration of the 1.5 acre site in the town centre, previously occupied by the old fire station, a recycling centre and a car park.

The Rowley Arts Centre is a mixed-use scheme that is due to open to the public in mid-May and is expected to create up to 175 new jobs.

Chris Goldsmith, managing director Turnstone Estates says: “Today marks a significant milestone for The Rowley Arts Centre. The people of St Neots have watched with eager anticipation as the scheme has come out of the ground and we can now hand over the buildings to the occupiers for them to fit out with their familiar hoardings and signage.”

The scheme comprises:

At the west entrance to the development, a Pizza Express (3,003 sq ft) is located. The building has now been handed over to the new occupiers for the fit-out, which will commence shortly to be completed in time for the Easter opening.

At first floor level there are three two-bed apartments, which have been fitted to a high standard and are ready for sale. The flats are being marketed by local estate agent Bennett Sanders, with one unit already sold.

Adjacent will be the second restaurant, Frankie and Benny’s (3,681 sq ft) while a third (3,018 sq ft) restaurant unit will be taken by Prezzo. Opposite here will be the fourth and final eatery.

As the focal point to the development Turnstone has created an attractive plaza area where there will be a permanent public art display.

“This creates a welcoming and boulevard feel to the centre,” explains Phil McCabe, development director for Britannia Construction. “The restaurants will extend their dining, café style, outside, where visitors will be able to soak up the atmosphere.”

Landscaping plays a key part in this development, and just recently three giant Dawn Redwood trees have been planted. Standing six metres tall, the magnificent trees were brought in by crane, having been shipped from Germany especially for this development. Permeable drainage has been installed over the tree cells together with integral watering points.

“This is a great example of where we’ve been able to include sustainable construction processes into the development,” continues Phil McCabe. “Drainage has been a key focus, so we have installed an attenuation tank and drainage system, which allows water to be slowly released in a controlled way into the ground. On the plaza area, we’ve used permeable paving.”

Having completed construction, Britannia is about to start work on the fit-out of the six screen Cineworld cinema which is positioned at the far end of the site. The 18,600 sq ft cinema will have a total of 886 seats, and importantly will also be made available for use by local community groups for theatre and other stage productions. There is a 108 space car park.

The aesthetics on the cinema building include a zinc standing seam from the first floor upwards and sunken plant housing on the roof which will hide air conditioning, ducting and trunking from the line of sight of neighbouring residential properties.

“This is a site in the heart of the town, so working with our neighbours has been of vital importance throughout the build period,” adds Phil. “As a company we pride ourselves in being considerate constructors, working together to accommodate neighbouring businesses and residents.”