Essex

High House Production Park wins three building awards

The Royal Opera House's Production Workshop
Image caption The High House Production Park in Purfleet houses the scenic construction and paint shop facility

A building project in south Essex led by London's Royal Opera House has won three regional architecture awards.

The £60m High House Production Park in Purfleet claimed the 'Project of the Year' and 'Regeneration' categories at the 2011 RICS East of England Awards.

Restoration of the Grade II listed High House Farm, around which the park has been built, also picked up the 'Building Conservation' award.

The park is home to the Royal Opera House's scenery and costume workshop.

Work on the 14-acre (5.6 hectares) park began in June 2009 and completed in late 2010.

Its centre-piece is the Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop which makes the sets for the Royal Opera House's productions in Covent Garden.

The site will also become home to the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural Skills in 2012.

The 16th Century High House Farm, which had stood empty since the 1970s, has been restored for use as function and conference spaces and galleries for local artists.

'World class centre'

Matthew Essex of the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, who developed the park said they were "absolutely delighted" with the accolades.

He said: "Whilst there were many hurdles to overcome during the development of this facility, it now has the potential to be a world class centre for creative and cultural industries."

Image caption The Grade II listed high House Farm buildings had stood empty since the 1970s

Stephen Boniface, lead judge for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in the east of England, explained the quality of entrants for the awards was very high.

He said: "It was difficult to single out the overall category winners for the East of England.

"However, we chose High House Production Park for Project of the Year because it was such a high calibre project on so many levels."

Essex & Suffolk Water's Sandon Valley House was another Essex winner at the awards, taking the top prize for Sustainability.

Greenfields House in Braintree and the Harlow Gateway Project were also highly commended at the awards held in Bury St Edmunds.

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