White River Place Scores National ‘Excellent’ Rating

The Forum at White River Place in St. Austell
St Austell’s £75 million town centre scheme, White River Place, has joined an elite group of the UK’s top buildings by becoming one of the most environmentally-friendly developments in the country, it has been announced today.

Assessors working on behalf of BREEAM, the world’s most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings, have given White River Place a score of 74.16% and an ‘Excellent’ rating. Only a handful of the country’s retail schemes have reached this level.

The South West RDA (Regional Development Agency) is investing £31.5 million in the scheme, with the remainder of the funding from White River Developments, a subsidiary of Elan Homes.

Once completed, the re-development will include new shops, restaurants, a 550-space multi-storey car park and 69 apartments. The new four-screen White River Cinema and restaurant chain Frankie & Benny’s have already opened to the public, with others retailers in the process of fitting out their shops. The scheme, which is expected to create 700 new jobs, is on schedule to open on Thursday 29 October.

The scheme was given scores in a number of categories including management, health and wellbeing, energy, transport, water, materials and waste, land use and ecology and pollution. The development was praised for using responsibly sourced materials, a high content of recycled material, low energy technologies and for minimising air and water pollution, as well as encouraging the use of public transport and a green travel plan.

Gordon Brown, BREEAM Assessor at GB Sustainable Project Management Ltd, said: “When the project was planned back in 2004, it aimed for a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating, a demanding target in itself. To end up achieving the top level of “Excellent” is astounding. This reflects the whole team’s buy-in and hard work. I’m confident this development will show the rest of the country the way forward.”

Sandra Rothwell, Head of Regeneration in Cornwall for the South West RDA said: “This is fantastic news and underlines the fact that this project provides St Austell with an ‘Excellent’ development. It reinforces our aspiration to renovate an existing brownfield site into an innovative and stimulating town centre and unlock the business potential for St Austell and its wider area.”

Caron Thompson, Community Liaison Manager for Sir Robert McAlpine, seconded to the scheme from the Eden Project, said: “We are absolutely delighted with this achievement and it clearly demonstrates that the whole team involved in this project has strongly promoted and upheld the highest standards of sustainable development throughout the construction phase.”

Sean Finlay, Director of White River Developments added: “From the very start the whole team made a conscious choice to ensure sustainability was a key consideration. By sourcing materials locally and incorporating modern technology including rainwater harvesting systems, we have made sure that White River Place is a beacon for sustainable development in the region and across the industry.”

White River Place has already won a national award. Earlier this year Sir Robert McAlpine received a Silver Considerate Constructors Scheme 2009 National Award for ‘ White River Place’.

Retailers already committed to the scheme include coffee shop Starbucks, fashion outlets New Look, Peacocks and Bonmarche, high street bank HBoS and home and garden store Wilkinson.

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