Much-loved Gloucestershire attraction to get new visitors centre
By Matt Hall | 3rd December 2019
Owners of Painswick's Rococo Garden have been given the green light by planners to build a new visitor centre.
The scheme will eventually see a modern, state-of-the-art visitors centre, as well as community and function room built within the gardens.
Known across the county for its beautiful flowerbeds, woodland walks and Cotswold views throughout the seasons, the attraction remains the UK's only complete surviving rococo garden.
The new visitor's centre will be sited in the coach field within the Grade II listed Painswick House Park and Garden.
The project will be split into two phases to aid financing, the first involving the construction of the visitor centre alongside a shop, enlarged café, outside terrace, toilets and staff/volunteering space.
A second phase will see the addition of a function room for weddings and educational facilities allowing the venue to better cater for groups, activities and weddings.
Additional approved improvements to the site included reconfiguration and expansion of the existing car park and a change of coach drop off location.
A combination of TECU gold, black timber cladding and red brick, alongside a zinc and grass roof provides a modern and unique appearance to the visitors centre.
Plans also set the proposed building into the ground, to maintain a low profile following the slope of the land and also allowing it to be wheelchair accessible.
Although Painswick Parish Council strongly supported the application prior to approval, it was met by mixed public opinion.
Locals filed objections based on increased traffic, loss of grazing use and nature of parkland and the development out of keeping with environment.
One resident said that the proposal was "too big, excessive and out of proportion. Will spoil Painswick and make it more like Bourton on the water."
Others supported the application, saying: "Vital tourism and supports local economy. Necessary to secure the long-term survival of the Rococo Garden".
Within the Stroud District Council planning report, officer John Chaplin said: "The proposals do cause harm to the registered parkland but this has been mitigated and reduced by the design and landscaping.
"The scheme will enhance and allow better public access to experience and better reveal the significance of the Rococo Garden.
"The garden provides employment and economic benefit to the wider tourism industry being an important attraction in the wider area.
"Whilst it is hard to quantify the garden also has a positive effect on the identity of Painswick, the district and the wider Cotswolds.
"It is therefore considered that the overall benefits of the scheme including the sustainable future of the garden are such that they outweigh the harm."
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