Utopia Cafe Wins Top Rural Award
A cutting-edge café at the heart of a rural Yorkshire business park has claimed a top buildings award.
Utopia at grade one listed Broughton Hall near Skipton - owned by the Tempest family - has won the regional "Best New Build" category in the Rural Buildings Award scheme, run by rural economy experts, the CLA, in association with Knight Frank.
Opened just over two years ago, the ultra modern café, situated within Broughton Hall's previously derelict walled garden, has quickly become the hub of the popular Business Park, which is home to 49 companies, employing around 500 staff.
Business Park Manager, Hannah Fell, said: "We simply can't imagine life without it. For many of our smaller businesses and external clients Utopia is the ideal place for meetings and away days. Utopia really works for them by providing the opportunity to not only relax but also entertain clients in a stunning environment.
"It has encouraged our tenants to network and create new trading opportunities with each other and has also proved to be a strong selling point in terms of attracting new businesses on to the park."
Standing in stark contrast to its historic surrounds of Broughton Hall, Utopia has a simple, steel and glazing construction with swathes of frameless glass and timber cladding. Designed by the world renowned Hopkins Architects, the building was heavily influenced by similar high-profile projects undertaken by the firm in the Far East.
Serving fresh food and drinks every day from 8am, it has seating for 60 people and two meeting rooms which are available for hire. The entire building is a wireless enabled internet access zone and is also used for functions by local companies, clubs and groups.
The stunning backdrop of the walled garden was created by Dan Pearson, whose pedigree includes re-landscaping the grounds of Althorp House after the death of Princess Diana and the landscaping and planting surrounding the Millennium Dome.
CLA regional director for Yorkshire, Dorothy Fairburn, said: "The last thing you expect to see as you enter the walled garden is such a contemporary building as Utopia but the judges agreed unanimously that it worked extremely well.
"The outstanding quality of the building enables it to fit well with the traditional estate buildings and barns that have been converted to form the Business Park. Add to its striking design the numerous economic benefits that the new development has brought and it is easy to see why Utopia is a worthy winner of this award."
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A farmer’s daughter from the North York Moors, where her brothers still farm, Dorothy has clocked up more than 30 years’ service to the rural economy since graduating from Wye College (University of London) with a degree in agriculture.
She qualified as a rural practice chartered surveyor (land agent) whilst working for Savills plc in London and York, dealing with sales and purchases of country houses and estates as well as the management of investment estates for financial institutions.
Prior to joining the CLA, Dorothy worked for the National Trust in Yorkshire. There she managed some 30,000 acres of outstanding countryside as well as being responsible for historic houses open to the public and the acquisition of major new properties.
Dorothy was awarded an MBE in the 2011 New Year Honours List in recognition of her services to rural affairs.
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