Cockington Court Craft Centre
The £2.85m Cockington Court regeneration project, completed in 2011, was funded by the South West Regional Development Agency, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (through the Sea Change initiative) Torbay Council and Torbay Development Agency.
Restoration of the Grade II* listed Cockington Court Manor House in a 460 acre estate to establish a creative centre of excellence, incorporating new-build workspace, art gallery, visitor centre, outdoor entertainment area, and an education and skills training venue.
Heritage-led regeneration has been applied making the most out of the existing assets, improving accessibility and enhancing interpretation and visitor experience.
The project addresses deprivation by using a tourist attraction as a catalyst for economic regeneration and operating it as a creative business incubator as part of the TDA’s range of innovation centres.
Today Cockington Court is home to a working craft centre with a range of artisans including a glassblower, blacksmith, painters, ceramicists, textilers and jewellery makers.
During construction, ten of Torbay’s over 16s unemployed were given a career kick-start with Wates Construction’s Building Futures training scheme, giving them an opportunity to learn valuable construction skills and improve their job prospects.
Cockington is making a renewed contribution to the Torbay economy and environment. Measurable benefits are: Refurbished floor space 848m2; new floor space 492m2. Over the next 20 years the anticipated outputs are: 299 additional jobs, 117 new businesses, 201 businesses assisted, £9.6m additional GVA.
Recent decades had seen a cycle of disinvestment, had the project not been carried out, £300k+ of immediate necessary repairs were estimated, and there was at risk of eventually losing this prized asset.
Cockington Court is a former stately home on the site of a building first recorded in the Domesday Book and built upon over the centuries, reflecting a variety of architectural periods. Prominent families in English history - the Carys and the Mallocks - owned the estate, and as a youngster, crime novelist Agatha Christie was a regular visitor, appearing in family theatricals staged on the front lawn.
Cockington is one of the most densely thatched villages in England and has a working forge, waterwheel, medieval church, water meadows, shops, cafes, and a Lutyens-designed pub.
The project is strengthened by partnership with the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Dartington Hall Trust, Creative Torbay, South Devon College and the English Riviera Tourism Company to establish Cockington as a premier craft centre.
Torbay was successful in bidding for ERDF and DCMS funding, which backs up the sustainability of the project in delivering economic benefits for a deprived population as well as restoring a much-loved heritage site. The TDA’s commissioned start up company, Outset Torbay, have been working with many of the tenants at Cockington to help them start up successful businesses.
As well as project managing the renovation and new-build, Torbay Development Agency won the bid to operate and promote Cockington Court as a visitor attraction and innovation centre on behalf of the landowner, Torbay Council.
Cockington Court continues to develop after the completion of the scheme. The Walled Art Garden is under development to provide a better facility for the community and there is a programme of seasonal events and exhibitions.
Client: Torbay Council