Our retail and conservation area experience led to an instruction by Waitrose and The Furlong Shopping Centre to design and submit a detailed planning application for an extension to the existing Waitrose store at The Furlong, within the Ringwood town centre conservation area.

The existing building occupied the site of a former cattle market, and combined with the Furlong Shopping Centre Development to form a set of pseudo-vernacular buildings. Laid out as a courtyard, they had little in common with other buildings in the nearby High Street and Market Place.

Our proposals included a relocation of the existing entrance and an adjustment to the external works adjacent to the store. The scheme extended outwards to the south and west, and we felt it important that these new extensions should not directly imitate earlier styles but instead be designed with respect for their context.

The main Waitrose shop frontage was designed with a new glazed extension fronting the checkouts, with a new glazing system with a layering of brise soleil to provide solar shading and prevent glare. The new entrance has a dual role: to firstly act as a marker for the store, and secondly to provide a positive townscape to complement and contrast with the historic Frampton Mill.

Towards the west we extended to match the existing building by extending the roof structure and facing brickwork with detailing to match. The southern extension included a single storey extension with a structural glazed feature link connected to Frampton Mill. This removed the problematic area between the two buildings and allowed for the removal of a lean-to structure and external staircase.

The expansion of Waitrose was a response to existing trading conditions and has reinforced the existing retail provision within the town. Waitrose is the principal anchor retailer and the enlarged store has created around 50 new jobs. Our scheme preserves and enhances the positive aspects of this part of the conservation area and has been achieved through a sensitive, low impact solution.