Case Studies

Selected examples of our work in practice

Crossness Engines Trust

The Joseph Bazalgette-designed Crossness Pumping Station is a decaying, Grade 1 listed Victorian industrial complex on the Thames in South East London and recognised by English Heritage as one of the most important buildings at risk in the country. The dedicated volunteers of the Crossness Engines Trust have spent over 17 years painstakingly restoring and bringing back to steam one of original beam engines but the buildings are crumbling and the Trust needed to find a way of making the site more accessible and appealing to the general public.

Michael Nutt was engaged by the Trust to prepare a submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the conservation and development of the site. The result was a £2.7 million capital bid which not only included proposals for the conservation of the buildings and interpretation of the site, but which also addressed fundamental issues like physical access to the site via a new access road (the historic site is effectively marooned within an operational sewage treatment works) and the sourcing of major partnership funding.

The key to these challenges was to set the project in the wider economic development context of the regeneration of the Thames Gateway, through which Michael secured the support of the local authority, the DCLG and other key agencies concerned with the transformation of the area. Demonstration of the impact of increased visitors persuaded Thames Water of the need to facilitate and fund an access road.

In addition to preparing all the bid documentation for the project including the Conservation Management, Access, Training and Business Plans, Michael managed an OJEU procurement process and the briefing of the appointed Design Team.

The bid secured a Stage 1 Pass in November 2005 for a grant of £1.5 million and work is currently underway on Stage 2 of the project.

VisitNorwich

Norwich is an outstanding cathedral city with an exceptionally fine built heritage, excellent cultural life and a very strong retail offer, and yet it was not punching its weight as a destination. The City Council and other key players felt that something needed to be done to place Norwich on a par with Bath, York and others. Although a tourism agency existed, it was felt that more needed to be done if Norwich was to compete.

A tourism strategy was commissioned and Michael was one of the leading consultants behind the production of the Norwich City Destination Strategy in 2004. Its main recommendation was the creation of VisitNorwich, the destination management organisation for the Norwich area. Michael then advised on the setting up of the new company (it began trading in April 2005) and the development of its Business Plan, before joining the company and becoming its Managing Director.

To deliver its vision of establishing Norwich as one of the UK’s leading city destinations, VisitNorwich was given an ambitious remit. As well as promoting the destination, the company was also tasked to operate the Norwich & Norfolk Conference Bureau (on a county wide basis in partnership with Norfolk Tourism and all the county’s districts), manage the Norwich Tourist Information Centre at the Forum and provide executive and marketing support for the Norwich City Centre Management Partnership.

VisitNorwich is also a membership organisation - with 250+ private sector members its the largest sub-regional membership organisation in the East of England - and it serves four different local authorities across its destination area. Communication, partnership and stakeholder support are therefore key to its success.

Norwich & Norfolk Food Festival

Norwich has many strengths in food – it has excellent restaurants, a nationally renowned Hotel School, a long tradition of food processing and now food technology, the famous name of Delia Smith at the football club and, of course, plentiful local produce in the surrounding farmlands of Norfolk . At the same time, there is growing consumer interest in eating well and eating healthily, in locally produced food and in organic food, and food has become an essential part of any holiday or travel experience.

In developing a new tourism strategy for Norwich, Michael Nutt identified an opportunity of bringing these things together in the form of a Norwich Food Festival and from 2005 he subsequently organised and promoted four annual food festivals in Norwich.

Under the banner of VisitNorwich and with title sponsorship from a major local company, the Norwich and Norfolk Food Festival took place over 10 days in October. The Festival was overseen by a Steering Group representing some of the key food interests in the city, including leading restaurateurs, caterers, food suppliers, the Hotel School and Institute of Food Research, and in 2008 it featured some 350 events and over 130 local businesses and organisations.

As a highly marketable product, the Food Festival provided a major draw for the destination. It also raised the game of local food businesses and helped to build Norwich’s reputation as a food city which in turn will attract other food entrepreneurs and young chefs.

www.norwichfoodfestival.co.uk

Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower

Priddy’s Hard was a derelict, former naval armaments depot occupying 25 acres on Portsmouth Harbour. Dating back to the 18th century, it also had impressive earthworks and fine historic buildings including the Grade 1 listed Gunpowder Magazine which housed an outstanding collection of naval armaments. Plans were developed to create a new museum on the site as one of the major components of the Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour Millennium Project, a ‘landmark’ scheme funded by the Millennium Commission.

As a key member of the Harbour Renaissance team, Michael was involved in the preparation of the Millennium proposals from the outset and in due course became the founding Director of the museum, named Explosion! Museum of Naval Power. Responsible for the original business and operational planning, Michael delivered a strong brand and a sound strategic vision and framework for the museum, which not only developed an enviable professional reputation within the museum community but which also became a popular success, consistently winning high praise from its visitors.

Michael set up the museum’s charitable company and its trading subsidiary, and as its chief executive, took full responsibility for all the company’s strategic planning, financial management and administration. He also oversaw the development of the museum’s Collections Management Plan and its first steps toward Museum Registration. Explosion! became a popular destination for schools with an innovative educational and events programme and also hosted weddings and corporate functions.

CASE STUDIES

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