Many of our guests have asked us about our new build, what we’re doing, why, and when will it be finished? Here, owner Alan explains what we’ve been up to:
Briefly, the new building is designed on more or less the same footprint as the old manager’s cottage and staff accommodation – but on two levels rather than one.
The accommodation will comprise a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom family home for the hostel manager, two ensuite bedrooms for the existing staff with much improved kitchen/ living space, a ‘snug’ for use as a lounge area/relief staff accommodation, a utility room with shower area with both external and internal access and a two-bedroom owners flat above.
We have been fortunate to be able set the new building back one metre, protecting the gap between the hostel building and the new property and thus ensuring the previous aesthetics are more or less retained and gaining a little extra space.
The new building incorporates the very latest energy saving technologies, including 30 solar panels, two powerwalls (intelligent batteries for storing electricity), triple glazing, high standard insulation and a ground source heat pump to provide both heating and hot water. This latter feature represents a significant investment as it required 5 bore holes going down some 100 metres each through solid rock. The aim has been to ‘future proof’ the building as far as possible and to keep the running costs and carbon footprint to a minimum. We were delighted to be able to reuse the vast majority of the slate tiles from the original building and these are what you see on the new roof.
The construction itself is based on a specially insulated timber frame, underfloor heating and strategic sound proofing to provide the best multi-use living accommodation possible. The entire building is being faced in locally quarried stone to protect the outside from the weather and to provide a traditional external look and feel.
As might be expected we have hit several problems with the new build resulting in both cost and time over-runs.
Regulations for multiple occupancy accommodation following the awful Grenfell Tower tragedy occasioned significant internal design alterations to ensure compliance. Provision of 3-phase electricity, which the building requires in view of the large number of solar panels, has been an ongoing issue and will require a temporary solution pending ENWL re-routing the supply under the road (for the benefit of neighbouring properties as well as Elterwater Hostel). The drilling of the bore holes took weeks longer than expected and of course the weather has not always been ideal.
Despite all the above issues we are extremely grateful to our builders, Britican for the high quality of work and ‘can do’ mentality, and for working around our business and minimising disruption to our guests. Bathrooms and kitchens are being fitted now and we fully expect to have some of the staff in their new rooms ready for the coming season. It has not been easy for them, having to commute for over a year, but we are confident that the new building will deliver significant benefits and, in a few years, will feel like it has always been there for those who live and work on the hostel site.
Photos by Pete Savin and others working on site.