From market garden origins over a century ago, Coolings has evolved into a large retail nursery which continues to be underpinned by a sizeable nursery operation. One of their stores, The Gardeners’ Garden Centre at Knockholt, had a relatively small shop building compared with other garden centres with a similar turnover. The board identified an opportunity for expansion.
Coolings’ reputation is foremost built on plant quality, so they especially wanted to offer more houseplants, including a home interiors range styled around plants to sit between gifts and gardening, to give customers a more varied shopping experience. Extending the shop space by almost 50% would enable them to increase and broaden their product ranges and provide the right conditions all year round for the houseplants on sale to thrive. The existing building was also inefficient and costly to heat in the winter and difficult to cool in the summer – something Coolings were keen to remedy with the refurbishment.
Reduced stock fading from harsh overhead daylight
Natural light let in by glazed panels in gable ends
Eaves and ridge heights perfectly match the existing building
Newspan put forward a proposal for a redevelopment in two phases; first to re-roof Coolings’ shop building in 2016 and then to build a 438m2 extension, which was completed in 2017.
Coolings’ Production and Operations Director Ian Hazon said: “The old roof was two fifths glass and the rest 40mm thick Kingspan composite panels. Newspan incorporated glazed panels into the gable ends that let ample let natural light in, so the roof could be replaced throughout with 100mm thick Kingspan that’s significantly more energy efficient. They also gave us extensive advice on venting options for ventilation and finished the new roof with deeper and wider insulated gutters. Those practical features mean we cope far better with extremes of weather now.
“The work only needed a small team on site here; they kept disruption to a minimum and liaised well with Newspan’s office team, who coped well with unavoidable challenges like sickness and weather. Communication was good throughout and thanks to the collected efforts of our both of our teams, the extended shop was up and running in time for a busy spring! There’s certainly been a marked growth in turnover following the redevelopment, plus we’re making savings on running costs too because the new building’s more efficient to operate, even though it’s so much bigger.”
"We had the heaters replaced after the re-roofing, but the building is so well insulated that no additional heating’s been needed, even after the dramatic increase in square footage from adding the extension".