Building a New Hub and a Natural Habitat

A Proposal for a Sustainable, Natural & Carbon Neutral Hub for Pets Corner

Natural Habitat

Pets Corner also operates a pet product and pet food business called Great&Small that sells to retailers in the UK and exports worldwide.

Pets Corner’s operations currently operate from five different locations across Sussex, as the existing main facility in Gatwick cannot accommodate the needs of the business. Since 2013, the directors have been looking for a suitable site to house their new Hub, which would bring all five locations together under one efficient and coherent central base. The location, size and environmental requirements they demand for this means a freehold site is needed as no landlord would build a development of this type to rent.

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Design Concept

Respect for all animals and the environment is a key concern for Pets Corner. The challenge for this is to translate this philosophy into a contemporary and dynamic design, with genuine consideration for the environment. The objective is to create a cutting-edge development which delivers a minimum 85% score for a BREEAM outstanding rating.

The development brings together the five current separate operations of Pets Corner into one site. This integration will diminish both costs and the impact on the environment, but will simultaneously create an inspiring workplace for the Pets Corner teams.

The project consists of offices, training academy, retail and training shop, pet’s creche and vets, online sales administration and distribution, warehousing for export and distribution to the branch network.

Dog with map

The Project in Numbers


Minumun Breeam Rating


Staff supported by the site

280,000 KWH

Energy produced by our solar panels per year


Store Finder

The proposed and ideal site is located in Hickstead, West Sussex in the South of England about 2.7 miles west of Burgess Hill, 8 miles north of Brighton and 20 minutes drive from Gatwick Airport.


Offices 27
Training Academy 10
Retail & Training Shop 5
Pet's Creche & Vets 10
Online Sales Admin & Distribution 10
Warehousing & Export 55
Site Maintenance 3

Pets Corner initially expect to employ around 120 full time staff directly on the site

These employment levels are based on Pets Corner's 165 stores and will rise as the branch network increases as planned.

In addition the facility will support the employment of 1000+ staff working in our stores around the country.

Build Green

1Timber Framed not Steel

Glulam beams made from timber lock away CO2 and use up to a 3rd less energy in manufacture. In fact, if the beams are burnt at the end of their life they will produce more energy than is used in their manufacture.

The same principles apply for the wall and roof cladding where cross-laminated timber will be used.

2Cedar Exterior Cladding

No metal or composite roof or wall panelling. The walls will be clad using sustainably sourced red cedar wood shingles. They are one of the most thermally efficient cladding materials (compared with traditional materials) and, being timber, lock away CO2

3Sustainable Insulation

The building will be insulated above and beyond building regulation requirements to ensure as little energy loss as possible. Insulation will be provided using expanded cork board, which is a natural product and a crop. This means it is fully sustainable, locks away CO2 and is recyclable at the end of its use.

4 PV Solar Panels

The warehouse roof will house 2640m2 of British made solar panels which will generate enough power to run 62 average sized family homes. Pets Corner do not use fossil fuels to operate any of its stores and the Hub will be no exception. All heating, lighting and ventilation will run using electricity generated by the solar panels or bought from Good Energy, a renewable energy supplier.

5LED Lighting

All lighting will be provided by Goodlight Ltd, utilising their very low energy, long life LED lamps. Their effectiveness is further increased with the use of daylight and motion sensors, which means lights are only on when required, and will ensure the energy consumption for lighting is about 70% less than a typical building of this type.

6No Air Con, Naturally Cooled

A unique ventilation shaft inside the building will allow air to circulate. This will effectively work with automatic roof and window openers to keep the building cool without the need for air conditioning.

The warehouse will not be heated but will be very well insulated. All other areas will be heated using electric underfloor heating, powered by the solar panels.

7Rooftop Garden

Designed to soften the visual impact to the local area and to replace some of the natural environment the building will be taking because of its construction. It will be a relaxing place for our teams to recuperate and be inspired at break times.

8Insect Walls

The building will house one of the biggest insect walls in the UK, measuring 73m² and located near the wildlife pond to help feed creatures in that area.

9Balancing Ponds

At the front of the building a 500m2 balancing pond will be created to take rainwater from the roof. This will be planted and stocked with native fish to support local wildlife. Other surplus water will be stored in underground water storage tanks for use inside the building.

10Outdoor Surfaces

Natural stone will be used for pathways, with Grasscrete for roadways and car parking. This aids water run off and provides a more natural solution.

11Hedges not Fences!

Rather than erect an ugly 2m tall metal fence around the perimeter, existing hedges will be replanted with new native shrubs to create a hedge of at least 2m wide. This will ensure wildlife can nest securely inside without being disturbed.

12Beehives on the Roof

Lavender will be planted on the rooftop with a wild flower meadow. This will provide an essential resource for bees resident in the rooftop hives and a beautiful resting place for staff.

13 Bicycle Houses

Staff will be financially incentivised to encourage them to cycle to work. If they do, they will have a smart, dry and secure cycle house to keep their bikes in and use of showers and changing facilities within the building.

14 Greener Travel

To encourage staff to travel by train, Pets Corner will operate an electric mini bus to collect and return staff from the nearest railway station at the start and end of the day.