The Brief

As returning residential clients, we were asked by the Directors of J.W. Crowther & Son Ltd (the gritting, street cleansing and excavation specialists) to design on their existing premises in Gildersome, a new contemporary head office building and renovate an existing workshop, to better house their fleet of HGV’s and other equipment. The head office was to be reflective of a professional, expanding, modern, forward-thinking business!

Our Approach

Situated adjacent to a main road and motorway junction, the existing premises consisted of a small, house like property, which was used as the main offices and a workshop to the rear, to accommodate and maintain the company’s HGV’s, plant and equipment and also stockpile rock salt and other materials.

The business had already acquired the adjacent site, which had a small office building, a building that had been used by a window manufacturer, a large shed originally built to accommodate and maintain goods vehicles and a large yard area ideal for parking and manoeuvring the business’s vehicles. Our clients were keen to re-develop this site to create a state of the art, purpose-built facility, accommodating the entire head office staff, the vehicle maintenance team, their vehicles and material stockpiles.

Given the nature of the business, the constant coming and going of HGV’s 7 days a week and the fact we were working in predominantly a residential area, our team met with a few planning challenges and obstacles in designing this new contemporary two storey building,

We were very constrained by the boundaries of the land and needed to ensure there was enough space for both staff/visitor parking and the manoeuvring and holding of the company’s large fleet of vehicles. There was a significant difference in levels between the existing site and the new site, so to avoid vehicles having to go out onto the highway to travel from site to site, a large ramp was to be incorporated into the project.

Other areas for consideration were the neighbouring residents, many, who were opposed to the development and the impact noise and floodlighting, would have on them and their own properties. As part of this, our team attended a planning committee meeting, in Leeds, when the application was considered, to address neighbour’s objections and assist in alleviating their concerns.

Successfully working collaboratively with all parties, we created a contemporary design which would not only meet our clients’ requirements but those of Leeds City Planning and accommodate the neighbouring residents.

The new two-storey office building was designed as a steel framed structure incorporating high levels of insulation and airtightness with efficient plant and equipment to achieve a low energy building. The unusual plan of the accommodation with the upper floor at an angle to the lower floor was largely generated in response to the position of the building near the site boundary and the direction that incoming vehicles would approach the large security gate. This made for a distinctive architectural feature mainly with low key dark coloured cladding and matching brickwork and a focal point around the entrance area of contrasting vertical timber cladding. The angling of the upper floor and ground floor would create a sheltered area where staff could sit out at break time and use a roof terrace.

Internally we carried out the space planning, to include a large welcoming reception area, a series of meeting rooms and a staff canteen on the lower ground floor, with a modern staircase leading to an open plan office upstairs. One of the main features of this area would be a large window allowing natural daylight to flood into the building. Our interiors team worked on the designs and layouts of these areas to accommodate the needs of the staff, creating a practical, yet comfortable, and contemporary working environment.


The Result

After delivering the proposals and achieving planning permission, our clients were delighted with the designs of their new head office and facilities, but in 2020 the opportunity arose for them to sell the business to Ground Control Ltd, creating the UK’s largest private gritting company and winter maintenance provider. As a
result, management of the business re-located and unfortunately the project didn’t progress any further.