Durham-based architecture practice Howarth Litchfield has won a deal to develop the next stage of an £8.4m digital office park in Lancashire.

Appointed by Chorley Council, the North East firm will provide technical services on a major new development which aims to create 5,000 sqm of bespoke digital office and startup accommodation.

Whilst the state-of-the-art, three-storey office block has outline planning consent, Howarth Litchfield has been appointed to prepare a RIBA Stage 4 tender pack, following which the architect will be retained by Chorley Council and continue its involvement once the project goes live on site.

The main aim of the building is to cater for both startup companies and existing businesses operating in the expanding digital economy which are looking to grow and more specifically, put Chorley and Lancashire at its heart.

It will also reportedly act as the catalyst for further development on the Strawberry Field site where there are further plans for a business centre, digital data centre and housing.

The council has been successful in securing in excess of £4.1m of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) towards the cost of the scheme with work expected to start on site this year.

News of this latest contract win follows swiftly on the back of Howarth Litchfield’s appointment to an industrial scheme in Hull for Able UK and BMW.

The architect is also responsible for the design of Durham’s NETPark National Centre for Innovative Formulations for the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), currently under construction at the expanding technology park.

Speaking about the Chorley Council appointment, Howarth Litchfield director, David Pickersgill said: “I am delighted to announce our appointment on such an interesting scheme as the Digital office development.

“Our challenge on this occasion is to work closely with the client and rest of the design team and suppliers to ensure that the scheme maintains its original design concept while being delivered against a fixed budget. This will rely on our ability to look at all aspects of value engineering and different construction methods to achieve this.

“I’m confident that our experience of similar schemes such as NETPark’s National Centre for Innovative Formulations and the recently completed refurbishment of engineering consultant Cundall’s Newcastle office means we are best placed to ensure the project’s smooth delivery.”

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