Skip to content

Chicklade Services

Case Study

Chicklade Services

Client: Chicklade Services
Project Lead: Patrick Durnford

Understanding an estate’s assets requires more than just ‘stocktaking’ of those elements that generate income. Every feature of an estate, from its geography, demography, infrastructure, as well as its traditional commercial, farming and leisure potential can be usefully deployed to fully maximise the potential of the estate.

Chicklade Services, Salisbury Wiltshire by Fowler Fortescue – Independent Chartered Surveyors specialising in Rural Asset, Land & Estate Management

On the 1st April 1933 ‘The Alternative Exeter to London Transport Route’ was created, a highway which dissected the Fonthill Estate and became the A303.

In the ninety years that followed, the road had an increasing impact upon the landscape, estate activities and local communities. Sadly, in this context, the implications of the A303 have been mostly negative.

Identifying an opportunity

Road use along this section of the A303 represents a ‘passing trade’ in the region of 20,000 vehicles per day. That’s some opportunity if it can be tapped.

Furthermore, along the section of the road that runs through the estate, this passing trade is funnelled into a single carriageway which, whilst being a frequent bottleneck, will allow any facility built along that section the potential to receive opportunistic visits based on last-minute decisions that are just not possible at dual-carriageway speeds.

In May 2021, Patrick Durnford presented a strategic concept to capitalise upon the Estate’s adjoining land ownership and derive significant revenue from the presence of the Highway. The idea was to create a unique high-quality ‘service station’ offering with an emphasis on Electric Vehicles. The plan was supported by the Estate Principals and Trustees.

The vision

The easy answer to generating income from the passing trade that the A303 presents would be to provide the usual cookie-cutter, A-road services from the big oil companies. But this would neither truly maximise the opportunity nor be representative of the values and history of the Fonthill Estate.

With much of the traffic being holidaymakers, heading to and returning from the far South West, an opportunity exists for presenting customers with a far superior service experience. One that genuinely dovetails with their holiday expectations through buildings designed with local stone and offering views onto the surrounding countryside, with food and drink choices including high margin local produce. This will support local producers and the community at large.

Furthermore, the site will be an electric vehicle recharge facility, a great medium-term prospect but one that also is fully in line with the estate’s values and standards.

Identifying and securing a site

First and foremost a site was required. Three options were available; to promote a greenfield location, to seek to adapt a pre-existing location or to purchase an established service station. In view of planning constraints, Fowler Fortescue advised that the third option was the most viable but potential sites were limited to a shortlist of one.

Chicklade Services extended to 1.25 acres and adjoined Fonthill Estate land to the rear and sides. The property was typical of an unimproved roadside offering. As the intention is to re-imagine what a Service Station could be, a need to improve and modernise the site to enhance the amenity and user experience has been helpful in terms of justification. The Chicklade site therefore posed a singular strategic opportunity, but it wasn’t for sale.

Fowler Fortescue approached the then owners of the site and off market negotiations were opened during the summer of 2021. The purchase of the freehold interest with vacant possession (necessitating a negotiated surrender of a leasehold interest) was completed in October 2021.

Assembling the project task force

Following the successful purchase of the site a design and planning task force was assembled by Patrick. Architecture was provided by Jonathan Nuth of Eten Architects and planning consultancy by Brett Spiller (Chapman Liley). Within six months the combined input of the estate principals, Fowler Fortescue and the architect and planning team, enabled the concept to be articulated into an exciting and innovative design and planning application.

Progress towards completion

This project has the potential to generate both significant capital value and revenue for the Estate over successive generations. The vision for the site is fully in keeping with the values and standards of the Fonthill Estate and will benefit the local community and wider society.

The planning application is soon to be submitted.

”A great idea is only as successful as the team who implements it. At Fowler Fortescue we do not bind our clients by forcing the use of in-house specialist professions such as planners. We have the flexibility, connections and independence to assemble the very best team for our client’s project, not the one that delivers us the highest fee income.”

Get in Touch...