Piper Whitlock worked closely with Kimberley Developments Plc to develop the site in Great Torrington for an 18,000 sq ft Sales Waitrose food store. The site is on the edge of the Torridge Valley with dramatic level changes across its length and an almost shear drop off to one side down to the River Torridge. Within an area of outstanding natural beauty the site partly sits within a conservation area, incorporating the existing council car park and derelict market garden.
The dramatic topography of the site and neighbouring dwellings called for a sensitive approach that set the building into its sensitive surroundings mitigating its impact on the area while still meeting the Waitrose operational requirements. Working alongside Waitrose store planners PWA established a working model that was adapted to the challenging site constraints.
Using locally sourced materials, a design rationale was developed to break up the mass of the building taking inspiration from existing crossing pathways that cross the escarpment linking the town to the river valley. Taking advantage of the 15m cross fall from the site entrance to the lowest point allowed the scheme to bury the warehouse area at a lower ground level with the land rising up around against the elevation. The materiality of the building kept the form engaged with its neighboring built context whilst mitigating its impact on the surrounding area.
The design was subject to a robust public consultation where public and planning authority concerns regarding the scheme and particularly highway matters were successfully addressed and the scheme received detailed planning consent in 2015