Cranmer Conference Centre

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Goldstar Award Nomination

It’s a real honour to be nominated for a Goldstar Award from Green Tourism but being Green is not an easy ride, especially for a small holiday cottage business. But there’s little point in doing the work unless you take it seriously and can back it up with actual results.

Since 2008 we have reduced our carbon emissions by 70% per bed night based on current occupancy levels. Annual emissions from onsite energy used by the business and customers were 115.5 tonnes per year in 2008 before we joined GTBS (Green Tourism Business Scheme), developed our barns and introduced an innovative mix of green technologies. As a result, (as of April 2014) this has been reduced to 27.4 tonnes of CO2  per year.

Over 80% of the energy we consume here at Cranmer is supplied by renewable sources; wind, GSHP, solar thermal & solar PV, Ecotricity for our electrical needs and a biomass boiler for heat. It’s been a massive undertaking and a large financial investment which we understand is a stumbling block for many small businesses. It hasn’t exactly been pain free but if we can do it, so can others. And we are always happy to share our experiences.

And we’re working with local suppliers to develop their businesses as well. Under the recent regulatory changes/updates to the RHI guidance woodfuel supplies must conform to 2013 standards.  We suggested to our boiler supplier and our local recycled woodchip supplier Drurys Recycling Services that they obtain authorisation under the DECC RHI Biomass suppliers’ list.  Drurys have been accepted onto the scheme as a producer/trader for chip-waste. Double whammy for us and for the environment by keeping wood waste out of landfill and securing a local supply for our boiler.

Andrea Nicholas, Director of Green Tourism, said: "The Goldstar Awards are a recognition of the best of the best in Britain when it comes to creating and maintaining a thriving sustainable tourism industry.

“A total of 60 green tourism businesses from across the UK have been shortlisted for the Goldstar Awards this year out of more than 2,400 entries. These finalists represent the best of the best, the top 3 per cent of Green Tourism businesses in the UK.

The standard has been exceptionally high this year and every one of the shortlisted finalists have shown a dedicated commitment to providing consumers with great service and value for money while at the same time championing the cause of sustainability.”

Green Tourism Goldstar Awards 2014

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sustainability: it’s a big subject and a big headache and a big responsibility

Here at the Green Room and at Cranmer Country Cottages we factored in sustainability and eco-responsibility from the get-go of our business planning. Our vision was to “create a high quality sustainable self-catering holiday destination while minimising the impact of our business activities on the environment’.

Holidays don’t sit comfortably in the ‘go green’ model. Transport is a major stumbling block if, like us you are offering beautiful rural isolation as part of your appeal. Incentives to travel ‘green’ are never taken up (back to the drawing board there).  Holidaymakers who regularly recycle at home are less likely to want to bother on their holiday. We work hard to enable our guests to ‘Go Green at Cranmer’ and have comprehensive recycling facilities but if they want to dump all their rubbish in one bag, there is little we can do about it. It’s OK to do a Rotweiller impression in the office but prowling around the cottages checking into bins is an absolute no-no.  However, we can pat ourselves on the back as our supplier recycles over 90% of waste collected. So ‘A-’with some way still to go.

 Another stumbling block for rural sustainability has been a reliance on oil for heating and hot water. Oh, and we also have a stunning, heated indoor swimming pool.  Over the years we have installed a 20kw wind turbine, 2 ground source heat pumps and 50kw of solar thermal.
Sustainable  ü. However, the swimming pool was always a stumbling block so this summer, with much blood, sweat and tears and expense, we commissioned a 100kw biomass boiler. Swimming pool ü. Heating for the office and house ü. Heating for the cottages previously running on calor
gas and oil ü.

 Why is it such a responsibility?  Whether you believe in the problems of climate change or not the undisputed fact is that we are running out of fossil fuels (the clue is in the word – fossil). We have heard many arguments over why renewables are not efficient, cost too much and are a blot on the landscape but the stark fact is that we have no choice. We have to find different sources of energy otherwise we will run out. Power cuts may be just a threat at the moment (price rises are currently a very hot potato) but they are inevitable if we concentrate purely on the now and fail to invest in sustainable energy sources. Yes, they are expensive to install and run but we have to start somewhere and as the technology improves, it will get cheaper. Electricity was so expensive to install originally that only the very rich were able to benefit. And building electricity systems from scratch was hardly economic. And electricity pylons are not beautiful. And which would you rather have?  Wind farms or Chinese-funded nuclear power stations.


We have no choice.


It’s been a steep learning curve and we are happy to share our experiences with others, which we will do in this blog. Please keep reading.  And let us have your comments.



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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Special half day rates when you book The Green Room

Since our successful launch of The Green Room back in November 2012, we have hosted a number of different events ranging from corporate training days and off-site meetings to residential swimming classes and social celebrations.

Now that the venue has been open for 6 months, we'd like to celebrate by offering our readers a discount on all half day bookings, now £60 + VAT, plus we will also throw in a FREE serving of fair trade tea, coffee and biscuits with every booking* 

Our intimate venue is the perfect place to hold off-site meetings, training days or corporate events and can accommodate up to 20 people. Situated just outside of Fakenham, The Green Room is wheelchair accessible and is equipped with state of the art technology including a large flat screen TV, AV equipment and wireless broadband. We have ample free parking on site and can help you organise catering and team building activities from a range of local providers.

If you are interested in booking the Green Room for your next meeting and would like further details email us or call us on 01328 823 135.

*Discounted offer applies on all half day bookings made in April and May 2013. Free tea, coffee and biscuits offer is limited to one serving per booking. 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

A busy winter at Cranmer

Now that February is here and the nights are beginning to get lighter, it feels like we’re beginning to emerge from the depths of winter and look forward to spring.
We love the early signs of spring cropping up around Cranmer, the odd snowdrop scattered around the grounds, buds beginning to appear on trees and signs of daffodils beginning to emerge from the ground give us a sure sign that the warmer weather isn't too far away.

Whilst we look forward to the coming months, we can also look back and say that we've had a rather busy winter. November saw us launch The Green Room, which is our purpose build events and meetings room. It’s been designed to cater for business hire during the week as is also available for cottage residents to hire to hold family celebrations or use as a private dining room when the cottage space just isn't enough.

We've also had an influx of visitors to the cottages over the winter period. Christmas is always a busy period for us because North Norfolk comes alive over this festive period, but it's also been a very busy January too.

To make the New Year rather eventful, the inclement weather hit us in January covering Norfolk with a good covering of snow. It certainly made the North Norfolk countryside look picture perfect.

In addition to all of this activity, we've also been busy refurbishing some of our cottages. Swallow’s kitchen and Woodpecker’s bathroom and former bunk room are currently undergoing new transformations and we’ll be unveiling the new look very soon.
Looking ahead into February, half term is looming along with Pancake Day and Valentine’s Day too! There are lots of half term activities taking place throughout North Norfolk and it’s not too late to book a break with us.

Don’t also forget that Mother’s Day is on Sunday 10th March. Why not treat your mum to a well-deserved break away. We’re currently offering a free bottle of champagne OR a box of locally made handmade chocolates from The Chocolate Deli Company in Walsingham with any short breaks booked over the Mothering Sunday weekend* Simply use voucher code 4FF61 if you’d like the bottle of champagne, or 1KE5C for the chocolates when you booking your break.

The Hoste Arms are also offering a fantastic mothering Sunday package. Champagne afternoon tea followed by mini facial and back massage £70.00 per person – contact Hoste Beauty Spa to book. Tel: 01328 737022. It's the perfect gift for the perfect mother!

To keep up with what’s happening locally to us, make sure you keep checking our Facebook page as we regularly post up local events, activities news and information.

Don't also forget sign up to our newsletter to receive our exclusive offers and latest updates.  

*Offer is available from 7th February until 8th March for all short breaks that fall over 10th March 2013.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Offshore Wind Farm boosting local economy

Sheringham Shoals Offshore wind farm, based 10 miles out to sea, is one of several offshore renewable wind farms that are being constructed off the coast of Norfolk.
These projects are normally faced with hard opposition, but  Wells-next-the-sea have really embraced the opportunities the wind farm can bring.
Wells, is a quaint seaside town which heavily relies on the tourist trade. It has had a port for over 700 years and a small fishing fleet still work out of the harbour. When the Sheringham Shoals project was in planning phase, it was decided that the Wells outer harbour would be the obvious choice to transport technicians and engineers to and from the wind farm. There are approximately 150 people working on the wind farm construction and once it’s fully operational it will be run for at least 50 years.
It was reported recently on a local BBC documentary that local businesses in Wells have benefitted from the wind farm activity. Local accommodation providers have regular visitors staying both in and out of the season. And it’s not only accommodation providers who are reaping the benefits,  a local butchers and greengrocers also receive regular large orders to supply a floating hotel, situated just off the coast of Wells, which accommodates between 100 – 150 people who are working on the project. There are plenty of other small businesses such as a chandlery and many others who have also seen increased trade outside of the holiday season.
The town’s economy has been boosted as a result of the wind farm and it is hoped that with the long term strategy in place, this green energy technology will leave a lasting legacy.
Our cottages are close to Wells and with our great green credentials we have benefitted from corporate and associated business from family and friends employed in Wells as part of the offshore wind technologies installations.  It’s exciting to know that renewable resources are having such a positive impact to our local businesses. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Green Room is officially open!

When we were deciding on how we could use our last remaining redundant farm building, we felt that we could fill a huge gap in the North Norfolk market by offering a high quality, environmentally friendly meeting and events venue. After months of planning, preparation and building work, we were delighted to officially open The Green Room on Wednesday 14th November. 

The venue was officially opened by David Cobham (pictured), a UK wildlife film maker and vice president of the Hawk and Old Trust, who cut the ribbon in front of over 30 local businesses. 

Walsingham Farm Shops provided an array of a range of local produce supplied for guests to sample and also kindly donated a Christmas hamper which was raffled off in a prize draw. 

During the opening, guests also had the opportunity to test their archery skills courtesy of the Fakenham Bowman, learn the art of clay pigeon shooting from Claybusters and also take a tour of Cranmer’s holiday cottages and surrounding grounds. 

The Green Room has been created to offer state of the art meeting facilities within a quiet rural setting. It is ideal for small group meetings, training events and team building days. This purpose build venue accommodates up to 25 people, offers delegates ground floor access, galley kitchen and toilets. Audio-visual presentation equipment includes a 60”TV screen with cinema sound, LAN and Wi-Fi internet access and themed lighting. 

The venue is also available to hire for cottage residents to hold social gatherings and is also an ideal setting to for local artists and photographers to display their work. We are currently exhibiting a range of local wildlife and landscape photography taken by Stephen Mole, Bill Pound, Martin Hayward-Smith & Roger Savell.

We have already received a lot of interest and enquiries to hire The Green Room and are pleased to have bookings in place already. 

Thanks to everyone who has been involved with the development and launch of The Green Room, your input and support has helped us create and launch a new project which is already proving to be a success. 

View The Green Room website for further details. 

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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Cranmer Green Room opens in November

November 14th is nearly upon us and the Cranmer Green Room will be officially opened.

The Green Room will be officially opened on the 14thNovember by the celebrity and wildlife ambassador Liza Goddard along with David Cobham, a UK wildlife film maker and vice-president of the Hawk & Owl Trust
When we started back in April to develop the Conference centre I don’t think we realised what we were letting ourselves in for.

Creating a new facility out of an existing building whilst ensuring the absolute minimum disruption to our guests during a year that started so well but went continuously downhill weather-wise was a real challenge but the team pulled together and we now have this lovely new building ready to officially launch in October.

known as the Cranmer Green Room, (it seemed more fitting for what we envisage the facility being used for) the centre has been designed to be a chameleon like multi-functional area morphing from the conventional business conference room to an art gallery to a yoga & Pilates studio and all things in between.
We are really looking forward to offering this extra resource to our holiday guests also as a private function facility

We are planning a whole series of events during the coming year and will keep you informed via twitter and the blog, so keep an eye open for something that may appeal to you or contact us if you have an event you would like to stage here.

More news later,