‘Fork Handles’ and ‘The Yard’ Take Shape!

Ruddington is no stranger to new house building in recent times – with considerably more development still to come – but a prominent village plot that’s created a great deal of interest over the past year or so is the site of the former Bostock’s DIY Shop at 70, Wilford Road.

The former Bostock’s DIY shop on Wilford Road

The historic business closed in October 2015 after 56 years – when owners Tony and Hazel Theaker retired – and was bought by Ruddington’s Mascari Design Solutions Ltd. New owner Rob and his team then worked with Justin Smith Architects of Derby to draw up ambitious plans and successfully secure permission for a pair of contemporary properties in its place.

The subsequent demolition of the old building last winter and the preparations to replace it have become something of a spectator sport ever since. Then, this week, polite warnings were posted on social media about potential disruption for people in the vicinity whilst pre-constructed sections of the new houses are delivered and hoisted into place: “I would like to stress our apologies for any inconveniences caused on St John’s Road” said Rob. “We don’t have any other way of making the deliveries than from there. I have tried my best to ensure all deliveries are done during school hours.”

Progress will now become much more visible: “After months of not seeing a lot (this is, of course, not true, mind!) there will quite quickly be two new homes on the ‘villagescape’. Cladding should be completed by April then it’s onto the interior….”

Rob explains that, during the lengthy pre-preparations, digging out for the large basement under the house nearest Wilford Road was a major undertaking: “Eighty-nine 7m piles were drilled before the basement was dug. These all have large steels and concrete in. The proximity of the neighbouring property and highways meant extreme engineering works had to be done prior to commencing. While they acted as support for the adjacent land during the dig, they are also now the main foundations.” Rob says contractors were very lucky having such a dry summer: “This lowered the water table during the dig. Thankfully, no surprises were found and all went according to plan. We still haven’t found the World War Two Anderson Shelter buried in the old back yard, but Tony tells me it’s in the only area we have not yet disturbed – so it may yet be uncovered!”

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I put it to Rob that traditionalists might think a predominantly wooden structure is a disadvantage – reducing the likely durability of the new houses – and that it’s possibly not very safe, either? But he assures us this is a common misconception: “While the UK (or England at least) still favour brick and block many other countries build using timber. It has many advantages, most notably speed of construction and impact on the environment. Durability is no issue using modern technologies and all properties built in the UK follow building control regulations – so there is no greater risk of fire than any other method.”

What about these ‘Eco’ credentials? “The properties are built using a SIP construction method. This is the most airtight method and offers exceptional levels of insulation. The windows are triple glazed to match the U values of the walls and eliminate cold spots. The superstructure is all timber meaning the build is very sustainable and eco friendly. Heating requirements will be negligible and there will be a mechanically vented heat recovery system. People often say making homes airtight and super insulated breeds germs and mould etc. This is true, so we will be installing an MVHR system to continually filtrate and supply fresh, warmed air while exhausting stale and moist air from the kitchen and bathrooms.”

How the new buildings will look

Sadly, Rob has bad news for anyone who might fancy buying one of these state-of-the-art dwellings, because they won’t be up for sale – not in the foreseeable future, at least: “It is a family development and both houses will be our homes.”

In tribute to the site’s DIY legacy – and with that famous Two Ronnies DIY Shop sketch firmly in mind – it’s been confirmed that the finished front and rear properties are to be called ‘Fork Handles’ and ‘The Yard’ respectively. Hopefully builders won’t need any ‘ose and pumps before construction is completed!

{Our grateful thanks to Rob Mascari for many of the above images.}

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