Rodgers Leask role in £100m enterprise scheme

Rodgers Leask has been appointed as civil and structural engineers for an exciting £100 million regeneration scheme aimed at revitalising the rural economy in the South West.

Midlands-based Rodgers Leask is working alongside developers London & Wharfedale on the unique scheme, which could see 1,500 jobs created and over 100 acres of land redeveloped at the Royal Bath & West Showground and surrounding land in Shepton Mallet.

Plans include six zones offering rural and countryside leisure pursuits, a manufacturing and distribution hub, business and technology units, the showground, a retail destination, and a rural economy business zone including food research and service sectors.

Under the proposals the existing showground will gain a 5,000m2 exhibition hall and conference centre, creating a leading visitor centre and contributing over £200 million to the economy of the south west. The venue already attracts over one million visitors per year and stages events on more than 100 days each year.

Andrew Catmur, who leads the Birmingham office of Rodgers Leask, said: “This is an exciting and challenging project which we are delighted to be working on alongside developers London & Wharfedale. We are exploring intelligent solutions to the many challenges, including supplying utilities and a foul pumping system.

“We are also studying the highways and the phased development of the roads, roundabouts, the site entrance and so on. It is a very large scheme, covering around 100 acres, and so the infrastructure requirements are diverse and demanding.”

He added: “Somerset County Council has been very supportive of the scheme which provides fantastic opportunities to attract investment and employment into the region’s rural economy.”

The showground aims to become the first in the UK to be completely energy self-sufficient using renewable technologies, such as solar thermal, photovoltaic cells, or anaerobic digestion of biomass waste from local dairy industries. Excess electricity could be sold back to the National Grid, generating a profitable new income for the showground.

London & Wharfedale, the regeneration partner to the Royal Bath and West of England Society, announced the exciting and comprehensive regeneration proposals for the society’s showground site at Shepton Mallet.

Included in the regeneration is a zone for businesses related to the rural economy, two hotels, a visitor destination centre for companies and individuals selling everything from rural crafts to farm and garden machinery, and from outdoor clothing to speciality produce. It is estimated that it will attract over one million new visitors per year to the site.

The proposals are exclusively focused on supporting the business and aims of the society, and securing the future of the show and venue, as money raised will be re-invested into the showground buildings and infrastructure.

Civil and structural engineers Rodgers Leask, which has offices in Derby, Birmingham and London, has designed multi-storey steel and concrete framed structures for a variety of clients ranging from multi-million pound manufacturing facilities through to commercial offices, institutional and industrial buildings, residential properties, hotel and leisure centres of varying size and complexity.