Shrewsbury Battlefield Specialists in Rural Planning & Design WEB by APK Battlefield 1403 - Exhibition, Farm Shop & Cafe Project Type:  Farm-based Heritage Centre, Shop & Restaurant Services: Site evaluation Project management and co-ordination of specialist consultants Consultations with Local Planning Authority and statutory consultees Design of building conversions Design of new building Preparation of Planning, Design & Access Statements Planning applications Haston Reynolds was commissioned to carry out a review of redundant traditional farm buildings around a large rural Estate to consider options for bringing them back into beneficial use and for diversifying the farm business. Given its urban fringe location on the edge of Shrewsbury, the Estate is subject to a range of pressures, which can place additional burdens on its ability to be successfully farmed.  One of the farms on the Estate which was considered within the review was Battlefield Farm, a significant proportion of which is designated by English Heritage as one of only 43 Registered Battlefields in England.  Indeed, around 90% of the Registered Site of the Battle of Shrewsbury is located on land within the Estate's ownership.  Whilst this designation poses some significant constraints, it also offered the potential for wider opportunities. Of the diversification options considered, the development of a dedicated visitor centre for the Battle of Shrewsbury was selected as the preferred scheme.  At that time only two Registered Battlefields in England benefited from dedicated heritage centres, namely Bosworth and Hastings, both of which are operated by public sector organisations.  The lack of privately operated battlefield visitor centres is largely due to difficulties in securing capital and generating the income needed to operate and maintain them.  The solution to this problem was to develop a heritage centre with free entry to the public, supported and largely funded by a 'farm shop' and a restaurant within the traditional range of buildings overlooking the battlefield. Careful planning, design and the project management of specialist consultants was critical in securing planning permission for the development given the need to comply with the statutory Development Plan but also to satisfy the various and sometimes conflicting requirements of highways, archaeological, building conservation, heritage, ecological, landscape, transport sustainability and other environmental interests. Battlefield 1403 was officially opened to the public by Robert Hardy (of All Creatures Great Small fame and author of The Longbow) in 2008 and has already become one of Shrewsbury's foremost tourism, heritage and educational assets employing around 30 staff on site and supporting both the Estate's own farm business and the wider rural economy through its commitment to sourcing products as locally as possible. Haston Reynolds has been retained by the client to provide ongoing planning and building design consultancy and we have recently obtained planning permission for an oak-framed glazed new-build extension and the conversion of additional buildings to increase capacity and the range of functions offered.     The facilities at Battlefield 1403 have progressively become an important educational resource and are used by numerous schools and other interest groups, covering topics as diverse as history, food, farming and nature conservation. Battlefield 1403 is recognised as a successful model of how to utilise privately owned battlefields elsewhere in the country and is often cited as a good example of planning and sensitive building conversion by the Local Planning Authority which also brings groups to the site. The success of Battlefield 1403 has also been recognised through the North Shropshire Tourism Award 2008, the Countryside Alliance Award 2009, RICS Award (Finalist) 2010, FARMA Awards (Finalist) 2010 and the Gold Medal at the Mayor of Shrewsbury Business Awards in 2010.