The Jennings Building Porthcawl

The Jennings Wins the Regeneration Category at the Wales RICS Awards 2018

The Jennings is a creative mixed-use scheme. It provides 24-hour multi-use access to its community. It also offers local entrepreneurs’ opportunities to develop their business in a prime seafront location.

Until recently, the Grade II listed Jennings Building had lain abandoned on Porthcawl’s seafront. Lying within the Bridgend Waterfront and Harbour regeneration areas, The Jennings is a key catalyst supporting Bridgend Council’s aspirations for the wider regeneration of the town and waterside.

The redevelopment of the Jennings Warehouse is a creative reuse of an existing building, retaining intact the pre-existing warehouse structure and securing it to bring it back into productive life. The design has employed a fabric first approach to sustainable design – providing a new roof over the old building with high levels of insulation, as well as a new highly insulated extension covering the ground floor portion of the western elevation, replacing previous ad-hoc storage buildings and weather protecting this elevation.

The upper floor residential units are all designed to be primarily naturally ventilated with high levels of insulation provided by the new roof, party walls and floors between units, limiting heat loss only to a small exposed external wall. The original small window openings have been retained to give daylight, views and natural ventilation, with cross ventilation and generous day lighting provided by new roof lights provided in replacement of the old uninsulated roof lights at high level on the roof, providing a similar character to the old building but with much greater levels of air tightness and insulation.

Three new cafe/restaurant units are provided at ground level facing onto the harbour with a large new outdoor seating terrace to the west facing the beach, and with a new glazed extension aspect to the town. All three businesses are start-ups by local entrepreneurs employing local workers, who were attracted to this building as a beacon of investment in Porthcawl.  Through the design and development process we consulted local community groups, and local and national Council representatives as well as CADW and the neighbouring Harbour Master and RNLI to understand the aspirations and sensitivities of the building.

The Jennings exemplifies best practice in planning for heritage and culture, setting a benchmark for listed buildings in functional harbour side settings. In just two years, the scheme progressed from initial design to planning, approval, and delivery of new uses and is already acting as a catalyst to regeneration of the wider Porthcawl seafront and marina areas. The local community have already taken to the building as a focal point destination on the harbour side.