Former Ice Works Project Viability Appraisal – COMPLETED!


Newlyn FISH Trust recently commissioned specialist consultants to carry out a Project Viability Appraisal (PVA) of the Former Ice Works, with a £15,000 grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF), a charity that promotes the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas.

The aim of the Appraisal was to test the suitability of this imposing Grade 2 Listed Building to become a spectacular venue for telling Newlyn’s important past, present and future story – a ‘must-see’ for visitors and a welcome hub for local people, including those who have worked or are still involved in the fishing industry (find out more about Our Ambition).

This study included an: Historic Building Appraisal; Initial Structural Condition Report; Valuation Report; Business Plan; Cost Report; and Architect’s Concept Illustrations.

Positive results of the PVA

The PVA confirmed that the building is an extremely rare example of an early ice works, with its original ‘Linde System’ refrigeration machinery still largely intact, which has high significance for both architectural and historical reasons. Its ice production revolutionised the local fishing industry and its communal value continues today as a landmark imbued with collective experience and memory.

The primary walls and roofs were found to be in reasonable condition, although holes in the roofs provided opportunity for rapid deterioration and there has already been extensive water damage to some of the floors and internal spaces as a result of the building having been disused since 2006.

The PVA concluded that a well-run and well-marketed Fishing Heritage Centre (FISH) could attract 30,000 visitors, which would generate sufficient funds to sustain the centre with a mix of paid staff and volunteers (including the re-location of the well-established Newlyn Archive).

Options for use of the rest of the building, designed to generate sufficient income for its long-term maintenance, were identified as follows:

  • Fish Restaurant (60+ seater mid-range) & Fish Cookery School
  • Café for the Heritage Centre, other occupants, harbour workers, residents & visitors
  • Creative Centre to be used by education staff at the heritage centre & available for hire to other educational & creative organisations
  • Museum Object Store for renting storage space to other museums/archives
  • Office accommodation – for FISH staff and for rental to other organisations (with a preference for those involved in fishing industry support/research)

Capital costs – the cost of restoring and converting the building was identified as £8.8m.

Growing community support

The involvement of local people and the forming of strong partnerships with key groups and organisations continues to be central to the Trust’s ambition.

Stakeholder engagement. As part of the PVA, a number of key potential partner organisations (including local councillors, the harbour authority, cultural organisations and Newlyn businesses), were invited to tour the building, the first time that members of the public have been allowed access inside. The tours were well attended and initial feedback to the proposed future use was very positive.

Penzance Town Council Newlyn Survey. The survey included two questions about the FISH Trust’s project. This resulted in 92% of respondents saying they were in favour of a FISH (heritage) centre in Newlyn and 92% supporting the restoration and regeneration of the Former Ice Works for that purpose.

Penzance Neighbourhood Plan. A Newlyn Heritage Centre at the Former Ice Works is an explicit proposal in the (draft) Penzance Neighbourhood Plan.

Newlyn Harbour redevelopment plans. Presentation of Newlyn’s rich heritage is considered an important aspect of future redevelopment of Newlyn’s port facilities and members of the Newlyn Harbour Advisory Group are supportive of the Trust’s proposal for the Former Ice Works.

Next step – AHF Project Development Grant

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) have accepted the PVA report and are encouraging the Trust to apply for the next stage of funding – a Project Development Grant of up to £100,000 to progress  our proposal to RIBA Stage 2, so that we can apply for capital funding. Trustees are in the process of preparing the PD grant application.

In order to qualify for the AHF Project Development Grant, the Trust must secure the following.

  • 10% of matched funding
  • commitment from the building owners

The Trust is currently seeking matched funding and conducting negotiations with the building owners (W Stevenson & Sons) to achieve an agreement that will provide it with an exclusive option to purchase at an agreed price, for a term sufficient to allow project development and the securing of capital funding.

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