Rheged reopens with FWP revamp

One of Cumbria’s top tourist attractions has welcomed back visitors as lockdown is eased with a revamp overseen by Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP).

The architecture, design and masterplanning practice has provided its full range of services for the comprehensive internal remodelling of Rheged, near Penrith.

A popular place to meet, with gallery, cafe, shops and cinema, it reopened its indoor facilities on May 17 as England’s path out of lockdown continued.

Visitors can now enjoy a range of new facilities, including a new pizzeria and café, a children’s play and creative area and a relocated art gallery.

Rheged is owned and operated by the Westmorland Family and FWP has worked closely with its internal team on the project, which has included creating a new office for the business.

FWP’s ground floor redesign includes a new open kitchen and 100-seat pizzeria and café. It says “particular care” was taken to ensure the new customer experience creates a warm comfortable environment.

The FWP team has been working for more than three years on the remodelling of the centre.

Another important part of the project has been the removal of extensive electric heating in the building and its transfer to a sustainable biomass energy source for heating and cooling.

The Rheged work is the latest in a number of major projects that FWP has delivered for the award-winning Westmorland Family.

They include helping deliver Westmorland’s £35m project to build Gloucester Gateway, the UK’s most eco-friendly services on the M5, and the upgrading of the company’s flagship Tebay Services on the M6 in Cumbria.

David Robinson, managing partner of Preston-headquartered FWP, said: “We have built up a strong relationship with the Westmorland Family over a number of years, helping to turn their visions into reality.

“We’ve worked closely with their internal team on the Rheged project, providing our full range of services for the comprehensive remodelling of the centre.

“The work we’ve carried out adds even more to the centre’s great offer of cinema, shopping and dining in a spectacular Cumbrian setting.

“The building has also had its mechanical and electrical installations upgraded to utilise renewable energy throughout.”

Rheged opened in 2000 as Britain’s largest grass covered building with the roof of the complex being entirely turfed. Named after a post-Roman era kingdom to which Cumbria once belonged, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.

FWP, which recently marked its 60th anniversary, is playing its part in the recovery of the visitor economy as the UK emerges from lockdown.

The practice is involved in several major hotel schemes across the North West of England, including the new five-star The Hotel Chester, which has now opened its doors and is looking to benefit from the predicted boom in staycations.

FWP, which has offices in Preston, Manchester, and London, has a wealth of experience in the hospitality and tourism sector.

FWP is also the architect behind The Sands Venue Resort Hotel on Blackpool’s famous Golden Mile, which is currently under construction and is a member of the team looking to restore the former Victorian Park Hotel in Preston to its former glory.

Its designers are spearheading the ongoing upgrade of Lake District Hotels’ flagship properties in Cumbria - delivering contemporary bedrooms and public spaces through its interior design expertise.

  • For further Lancashire business news, advice and analysis subscribe to Lancashire Business View or join the LBV Hub from just £2.50 per month. Click here to subscribe now.