I am writing to update you on the progress of the restoration of Lawson Park following the Parish Councils support of Grizedale Arts Planning Application.
Local company Leck Construction Ltd, were appointed as contractors in December ’07 following the tender process and began work on-site in mid January’08. The estimated programme for the work was forty weeks with a projected completion date of October
During the initial stages of the renovation a number of issues were revealed with the structure of the building. As we already knew additional barns and extensions had been added to the original cottage at a number of stages throughout the buildings history, but when the roof was removed it revealed that most of these additions had not been tied into the existing structure, making it difficult and potentially dangerous to carry out the alterations required. After much discussion, including consultation with the LDNP planning officers, it was agreed to stabilise the building and demolish and rebuild the critical unstable sections, retaining as much of the original structure as possible. As you know the property is not listed but Grizedale Arts are committed to restoring the building to retain the external appearance and character of the original building.
We have done a lot of research around the history of the buildings and site including reviewing public records, contacting previous residents and inviting the LDNP authorities conservation officer to visit the site and comment on our planned works. This is something we are keen to develop further and we would be very interested in any information or contacts you could provide that might give more of an insight into the historical use of Lawson Park. All of the information we have gathered to date is available on the Lawson Park website and we would welcome any suggestions or comment, http://www.lawsonpark.org/history
The Lawson Park project is monitored on a monthly basis by two groups, the Design Team; made up of the architects, consultants and the principal contractor and the advisory group; which represents the Grizedale Arts Board and local experts, if you would like to attend any of these meetings or be part of the advisory group we would be happy to for you to be involved.
Alongside the building work the land around Lawson Park is also being restored to productive use, including a kitchen garden and a forageable wildflower meadow. The wildflower meadow has recently been accepted into the Cumbria Upland Hay Meadows Project, which has involved it being surveyed by Cumbria Wildlife Trust including ensuring there has been no impact from the building works, the site is now being considered as a possible seed donor site.
Lawson Park will be open to the public on Sunday 24th August as part of the National Garden Scheme and this would be a great opportunity for anyone interested in visiting the site or finding out about the project to come and see us, please see our website or contact me directly if you would like any further information about this event.
I appreciate that it may appear quite extreme some of the work currently being carried out on the building but the majority of the demolitions, additional openings and changes of level are being undertaken to make the building accessible for the disabled, which is not only desirable for us but also a requirement of building control and our funders. In the long run the ambition is that this renovation will secure a productive future for Lawson Park, for many years to come.
Lawson Park will be officially opened in May 2009, we will be inviting specific groups, such as the Parish Council, in advance of this date to visit the project and look at ways in which people can get involved and benefit from this important resource.