The fire, although a catastrophe at the time, on reflection provided us with an opportunity.
Once the site was cleared of all debris, ground zero was a very daunting place. Apart from what should we rebuild? We had to re apply for planning permission, something that had caused us considerable grief in our formative years.
An architect was hired but he didn’t workout. In the end, after numerous field trips to other farm shops, coupled with the experience of what had worked for us in the past, Chris Lea came up with a design. His wife Katie, the colour!
A local building contractor, James Harrison Construction, who had done work for us in the past, helped draw up the plans. Finally by the end of October 2016 we were ready to submit our plans to Rugby Borough Council.
Happily, despite the inevitable wrangle over the odd detail, the plans were well received and planning permission was gained January 11th 2017.
While the planning process was proceeding, in the background we put together a demanding building schedule. Extracting the funds from the insurance company was challenging.
Our aim, to have rebuilt the shop, ready for the 2017 pick your own season. This meant as soon as permission was granted the build had to start.
With the footings complete the first steel went up 15th February.
The build went relatively smoothly but still over ran slightly. As with any construction project there were one or two ding dongs with the various contractors, the “no quibble” insurance company, quibbled and the weather also played a part.
Storm Doris delayed the roof sheets and the roofing.
A Robin took up residence, nesting on a purlin, the building gained additional ventilation, and became a very expensive nest box.
To meet our deadline we needed a late spring to delay the fruit crops it didn’t happen, the strawberries were exceptionally early that year.
The anniversary of the fire came and went.
In the end we opted for a very low key opening, building work was still continuing behind the scenes and it seemed sensible to work through the glitches and have an official opening later in the year. So on the 7th July 2017 we finally moved from the temporary shop in to our current home.
The August Bank Holiday weekend was chosen to properly relaunch the farm shop. Our MP, Mr Mark Pawsey, performed the honours on Friday, August 25th 2017.