Full steam ahead for Sussex design team

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An architects’ practice responsible for groundbreaking East Sussex building design was one of the first firms to organise a corporate reception on board the Bluebell Railway from its new destination at East Grinstead.

David Cowan, boss of Cowan Architects, said: “We’re based in the town and wanted an unusual venue for our 30th birthday celebrations - and if possible something relating to East Grinstead - so this seemed the perfect choice.”

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Nearly 100 clients and colleagues from across the South East enjoyed champagne and canapes on their gentle journey to Sheffield Park where managing director Phillip Mumford welcomed guests and raised a toast to the company. Guests then enjoyed a tour of the engine sheds and museum before returning to East Grinstead at the end of the balmy, summer evening.

David Cowan supports local Riding for the Disabled groups and also a children’s health charity in Kenya. He became one of Britain’s leading expert witnesses in the area of housing accommodation for disabled people.

His firm is responsible for taking forward the design for The Depot, Lewes’ new cinema to be set up in the former Harvey’s building in Pinwell Road.

With his expertise in design for specialised health care needs, his practice designed homes in Newtown, Uckfield, for the FitzRoy charity. One is for young people with learning difficulties and profound handicaps, a second bungalow accommodates four people with profound difficulties and a third provides independent housing for elderly people who need to tap into social care.

Cowan Architects also supervised the design and rebuilding necessary to convert Temple Grove School, Herons Ghyll into a purpose-built, state-of-the-art care home, Manor Gardens, now fully operational.

Also taking part in the birthday bash was Bluebell Railway plc chairman Graham Flight who described extensive fundraising and painstaking work that the railway had undertaken to clear the Imberhorne cutting, a former domestic waste tip. The track extension to East Grinstead was completed and formally opened this March. Passengers can now travel from London to the mainline station and walk the few yards to the adjacent Bluebell platform.