Entrepreneurs Emma and Paul Atkinson worked with specialist staff from to convert a disused Grade II-listed warehouse on the Caldon Canal into a modern café, gift shop and luxury holiday accommodation. The sensitive conversion of the historic waterside building has been such a success, it has now been recognised with first prize in the contest's Heritage and Conservation category at a gala ceremony in Birmingham.
The Living Waterways Awards, sponsored by Kier, Amco Geffen, Arcadis, CPC Civils, Fountains, Land & Water and Vinci, seek to recognise the most exciting and inspiring waterway-based projects across the UK which are transforming where we live and enriching our lives.
Sue Wilkinson, Trust trustee and chair of the awards assessment panel, said: "Our inland waterways have been part of our history for hundreds, if not thousands of years. That they are still being used and enjoyed today, making our lives richer and happier is down to a lot of effort by many unsung heroes and these awards exist to celebrate their efforts."
Canal & River Trust surveyor Sarah Hirst worked with the couple on the Froghall Wharf conversion project. She added: "I am thrilled all our tenants' hard work, dedication and loving restoration of this building has been rewarded. Emma and Paul thoroughly deserve the award and we're delighted the future of this beautiful grade II- listed property has been secured for both current and future generations to enjoy.
"This was a special project – a sensitive conversion of a beautiful old brick warehouse in harmony with its surroundings. The new 21st century visitor facilities have transformed the canal into a living waterway, a place where people want to come to relax, enjoy the rural canal and its wonderful wildlife. It ticks all the boxes on promoting health, well-being and making life better by water, and their delicious cakes and scones are guaranteed to put a smile on your face too."
Hetty's Tea Shop at Froghall Wharf is open six days a week, Tuesday – Sunday. Upstairs is an attractive holiday apartment, which sleeps six. The trip boat operates on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays in season.