As adviser to Chorley Council on a state-of-the-art, three storey, digital office development, Durham-based award-winning architectural practice, Howarth Litchfield, has seen the £7m project go live on site at Strawberry Field.

Howarth Litchfield was originally appointed to the project in November 2016 following an open OJEU tender process and has since been involved in the preparation of RIBA Stage 4 tender documentation to secure the appointment of a building contractor.

With Willmott Dixon’s appointment as main contractor now confirmed as well as Howarth Litchfield’s as client’s adviser from RIBA Stage 5 onwards, with a further brief to provide principal designer services, it is full steam ahead with construction.  The building is scheduled for completion in early May 2019.

The progressive development will include a wide range of contemporary facilities including innovation pods, hot desk facilities and a spread of flexible office accommodation offering micro spaces to office suites as well as car parking.

The purpose of the building is to cater for both start-up companies and existing businesses which are looking to grow and operating within the expanding digital economy.

It is expected that this development will also act as a catalyst for further development on the Strawberry field site where there are plans for a business centre, digital data centre and housing.

Chorley Council was successful a year ago in securing more than £4.1m of European Regional Development Funding to progress the scheme.

For Howarth Litchfield, Digital Office Park, Chorley, provides the opportunity to draw on its extensive experience of developing commercial projects which require digital infrastructure, space planning, office fit outs and interior design.

Whilst it is a one-off project for Chorley Council, David Pickersgill, Howarth Litchfield director, hopes it may lead to further development of their relationship in the future with the chance to be involved in more projects.

He said: “We are pleased to see this scheme go live and delighted to assist Chorley Council to bring this project to fruition.  The Digital Office Park forms part of Chorley Council’s development strategy for this part of the town and once complete, is destined to make a huge impact, placing Chorley at the heart of Lancashire’s digital economy.

“I am confident that our experience of schemes requiring digital infrastructure for Hewlett Packard and at NETPark in County Durham, where we are currently on site with the Centre for Process Innovation, will stand us in good stead while we seek to ensure the build programme goes smoothly and the project is delivered on time and against a fixed budget.”

Commenting on the progress of the Strawberry Field development, Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council added:

“The Digital Office Park is a very exciting development for Chorley and residents and visitors will start to see a difference on Strawberry Fields now that work is underway.

“The new advanced space will be used by start-up businesses and growing businesses and it will create hundreds of well-paid and skilled jobs which is great for our local economy.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the finished development and we urge anyone who is interested in a space to call one of the letting agents; JLL on 0161 828 6440 or Robert Pinkus & Co on 01772 769000.”

Assisting with the project, the professional team also includes RPS Group (mechanical and electrical consultants), Curtin’s (structural and civil engineers), RLB (quantity surveyor) and Identity Consult – Preston Office (project management services).