Trinity takes shape

ON the edge of Ipswich a major new development, of an unusual construction, is taking shape asSuffolk Showground becomes the Trinity Park Conference and Events Centre.

ON the edge of Ipswich a major new development, of an unusual construction, is taking shape as

Suffolk Showground becomes the Trinity Park Conference and Events Centre.

It is also the home of Suffolk Agricultural Association which celebrates its 175th anniversary this year. JAMES MARSTON finds out what impact it will have on Ipswich.

IT uses 40 miles of timber, there are seven miles of roof boarding over a steel frame, and it is costing more than £3million.

In the middle of Trinity Park - the new name for the Suffolk Showground -

a new conference and events centre is taking shape.

Most Read

The zinc roof is almost finished, the glass is in place, and inside there is a buzz of activity as workmen fit out the 1,000sqm building.

On May 11, Suffolk Agricultural Association's commercial manager Lesley Frost is set to welcome 1,200 movers and shakers from the county's business community to launch and show off the new building to the people she hopes will use it.

Miss Frost is facing the challenge of making the £3.2m project work. She said: “This is a very exciting time for the SAA. We want to be trailblazers that others follow. There is no centre like this in the area and this is a great commercial opportunity.”

About five years ago SAA bosses realised that the showground itself was a valuable asset which could be developed to make money for the SAA's education and charity causes, as well funding its prime role of promoting the advancement of agriculture.

Miss Frost said: “The SAA has always been commercially focused. The showground is in some ways at the centre of the agricultural community and there are not many people that do not come to the Suffolk Show.”

Though it attracts royalty, thousands of visitors and hundreds of trade stands the show is not a big money-spinner for the SAA. Miss Frost said: “The show does not make any income for us. This building is about developing the space we have here to use outside the two show days.”

Expected to create jobs as well as providing a function centre for Ipswich and the surrounding area, the new conference facilities are expected to compete with London for lucrative trade fairs and exhibitions.

Miss Frost said the centre will impact on the Suffolk economy.

She added: “We originally had one events manager. There is now a team of three of us and we are currently recruiting. There will be about ten jobs internally as well as contracts for outside caterers.

“There has been phenomenal interest in the building and we are expecting that it will sell itself. There will be capacity for a 1,000 seat theatre style conference or a dinner dance or ball for 400.”

A new 250 space car park is also under construction to accompany the centre.

Miss Frost said the design of the building allows for a number of options. She added: “There will be a series of function rooms or one large space. We can several meetings and the back of house infrastructure means we can cater for all, either a meeting of 100, a dinner for 200, or a board meeting for 50. It is hugely flexible.”

Top-of-the-range audio visual equipment will include two large high density phoshor screens three by four metres in size which will allow two conferences for 500 to take place simultaneously.

Miss Frost added: “We are also going to create our own events like themed Christmas parties and weddings. We will run the bar ourselves and there is a panel of six catering firms, with the emphasis on locally sourced, fresh ingredients, that will use the £100,000 banqueting kitchen suite.”

The public will be able to get a first glimpse of the new building during the Suffolk Show, on May 31 and June 1.

Colchester-based building firm Hutton Construction is responsible for finishing the building on time, according to a 32-week schedule which started in August.

Site manager Graham Preece said: “This is quite an unusual project because of the materials involved. Instead of brickwork, the centre is built out of timber and has a zinc roof. I have never built a building like it before.”

Architect Emma McLaren, from Van Heyningen and Haward, said: “Our main brief was to create a facility which could be used in a number of ways and which would be in harmony with the SAA's wider ethos.

“What we decided upon was a very individual design that would be heavily glazed, it would create an external courtyard space between itself and existing trinity rooms and could be split into separate rooms for various function requirements.

“We always wanted the project to reflect the local agricultural traditions by fitting in with the landscape and boasting a very harmonious and natural appearance.”

What do you think of this development? Do you go to the Suffolk show? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblink www.suffolkshowgroundevents.co.uk

In 1831 a group of landowners and farmers met at the White Hart pub in Wickham Market, to discuss the idea of an agricultural show.

The group formed the East Suffolk Agricultural Association to improve farming techniques by holding an annual show.

The first show was held on 21 September 1832 at Wickham Market. West Suffolk started its own show the following year but 20 years later they merged to form the Suffolk Agricultural Association.

The Suffolk Show was staged at different venues round the county but in 1960 moved to its permanent site in Ipswich where it still is today.

The Suffolk Showground covers 100 hectares in total.

The association aims to promote the improvement of agriculture (including forestry, horticulture and all allied occupations).

Trinity Park is named after the Suffolk trinity of the Suffolk Red Poll, Suffolk Sheep and Suffolk Punch Horse. There will be life-size sculptures of the trinity at the park entrance.

SUFFOLK Agricultural Association (SAA) celebrates its 175th anniversary this year.

At the SAA's home at Trinity Park(formerly the Suffolk showground) near Bucklesham a major new development is under way.

Today feature writer JAMES MARSTON takes a peek inside what will soon become the Trinity Park Conference and Events Centre and finds out what impact the project will have on Ipswich.

IT uses 40 miles of timber, there are seven miles of roof boarding, it is steel framed and soundproofed and its costing more than £3million.

In the middle of Trinity Park - the new name for the Suffolk Showground - a new conference and event centre is taking shape.

The zinc roof is almost finished, the glass is in place, and inside there is a buzz of activity as workmen fit out the 1,000sqm building.

And on May 11 SAA commercial manager Lesley Frost is set to host 1,200 representatives from the county's business community to launch and present what the new facilities will deliver to the region.

Miss Frost is looking forward to the challenge of making the £3.2m project the regions premier venue for conferences, weddings, banquets and trade fairs.

She said: “This is a very exciting time for the SAA. We want to be trailblazers that others follow. There is no centre like this in the area and it presents a great commercial opportunity.”

About five years ago SAA Trustees realised that the showground itself was a valuable asset which could be developed to make money for the SAA's education and charitable objectives as well funding its prime role of promoting and encouraging the advancement and improvement of the food & agricultural industry objectives.

Miss Frost said: “The SAA has become more commercially aware in pursuit of its charitable objectives. The Suffolk Show is in some ways at the centre of the agricultural community and the majority will attend the show, some both days. Though it attracts Royalty, thousands of visitors and hundreds of trade stands the show is not seen as a commercial opportunity for the SAA but a platform to promote the agricultural industry and the domestic and business market as well as providing the counties largest social gathering.

The new venue is about developing the business inside and out and looking at all opportunities that present themselves outside of the two show days.”

Expected to create jobs as well as providing a function centre for Ipswich and the region, the new conference facilities are expected to compete with London for lucrative trade fairs and exhibitions.

Miss Frost said the centre will impact on the Suffolk economy.

She added: “We originally had one events manager. There is now a team of three and we are currently recruiting.

“There will be about ten jobs created internally as well as contracts for our catering partners.”

Inside the centre is already taking shape.

At the moment it is a busy workplace but it is not hard to envisage how the building will develop.

Miss Frost said: “There has been phenomenal interest in the building and we are expecting that the quality of its finish and the technology that is being installed will sell itself. There will be capacity for a 1,000 seat theatre style conference or a dinner dance or ball for 400.”

A new 250 space car park is also under construction to accompany the centre.

Miss Frost said the design of the building allows for a number of configurations.

She added: “There will be a series of function rooms or one large space. We can hold several events or meetings under one roof at the same time and the back of house infrastructure means we can cater for all, either a meeting for 100, a dinner for 200, and a board meeting for 50. It is hugely flexible.”

Top of the range audio visual equipment will include two large high density phoshor screens three by four metres in size, which will allow two conferences for 500 to take place simultaneously.

Miss Frost added: “We are also going to create our own events like themed Christmas parties and weddings.

“We are planning to run the bars ourselves but have through a selection process taken on the services of six catering company's, with the emphasis on locally sourced, fresh ingredients, with the benefit of being able to utilise the £100,000 modern banqueting kitchen.

The public will be able to get their first glimpse of the new building during the Suffolk Show on May 31 and June 1.

Colchester-based building firm Hutton Construction is responsible for finishing the building on time.

Site manager Graham Preece said work began in August on the 32-week project.

He added: “This is quite an unusual project because of the materials involved. Instead of brickwork, the centre is built out of timber and has a zinc roof. I have never built a building like it before.”

Architect Emma McLaren, from Van Heyningen and Haward, said: “Our main brief was to create a facility which could be used in a number of ways and which would be in harmony with the SAA's wider ethos.

“What we decided upon was a very individual design that would be heavily glazed, it would create an external courtyard space between itself and existing trinity rooms and could be split into separate rooms for various function requirements.

“We always wanted the project to reflect the local agricultural traditions by fitting in with the landscape and boasting a very harmonious and natural appearance.”

What do you think of this development? Do you go to the Suffolk show? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblink www.suffolkshowgroundevents.co.uk

In 1831 a group of landowners and progressive farmers met at the White Hart, Wickham Market, to discuss the possibility of holding an agricultural show.

The group formed the East Suffolk Agricultural Association and set themselves the task of improving farming techniques in their county by holding an annual show.

The first show was held on 21 September 1832 at Wickham Market.

West Suffolk started their own show the following year but 20 years later they merged to form the Suffolk Agricultural Association.

The Suffolk Show was staged at different venues round the County but in 1960 moved to its permanent site in Ipswich where it still is today.

The Showground covers 100 hectares in total - 40 hectares of which is exhibition area.

To promote and encourage the advancement and improvement of agriculture (including forestry, horticulture and all allied occupations) whether through the development of skills and techniques or research and the dissemination of knowledge of such skills, techniques and research both as to methods of husbandry and the use of science and the use and development of agricultural implements and machinery.

The Suffolk Show has three principal objectives:

To provide a platform for companies/organisations to promote their business.

To provide a platform for the agricultural community to improve farming practices and for the urban community to gain a greater understanding of food and farming and the allied industries which support it.

To provide a Show which meets the leisure expectations of the people of Suffolk and its neighbouring Counties.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter