Our landscape architecture team’s vision for a new linear park in Coventry has been granted planning permission by Coventry City Council, further to our planning team submitting the application.
Approached by Complex Development Projects (CDP) due to our teams’ design approach at Longbridge, CDP asked us to help them unleash the potential of a redundant 6.5 acre gas works site bordering the north of the city centre. Currently the site is connected to the city’s theatre square via an intimidating and indirect path under the elevated ring road, a road that could be described as a concrete collar to the city.
With this in mind our designers set out to transform a grey desert into a new green corridor encouraging sustainable active movement for pedestrians and cyclists to and from the city centre, reintroducing natural landscape and enhancing the liveability of the city centre for both existing residents and those who will live in the new homes adjacent to it.
Our team transformed the narrow threatening underpass, which is hard to navigate by pedestrians, into an accessible, broad and attractive ‘underpark’. A safe, innovative urban space with a new climbing wall, greened concrete columns and dramatic lighting - a space that can be enjoyed safely day and night by local and new residents and also visitors. The park then leads you some 300m to Naul’s Mill Park along a reformed culverted Radford Brook with enhanced water quality, providing a bio-diverse, ecological rich corridor.
THE UNDERPASS WAS A HUGE CATHEDRAL LIKE SPACE BUT ALSO IN OUR MINDS A BLANK CANVAS. GREENING IT IS BY NO MEANS EASY BUT OUR DESIGN LOOKS TO TRANSFORM IT INTO ‘RADFORD UNDERPARK’ USING HARD AND SOFT LANDSCAPING, GREENING THE CONCRETE COLUMNS AND ANIMATING AND POPULATING IT THROUGH A CLIMBING WALL, PUBLIC ART, DYNAMIC LIGHTING AND A PERFORMANCE SPACE. BY RETHINKING THE RECREATION OF THE CULVERTED RADFORD BROOK AND THE 12TH CENTURY MILL POND IN NAUL’S MILL PARK, WHICH HAS LAIN EMPTY FOR MANY YEARS, WE CREATE A FAR MORE BIODIVERSE AND ECOLOGICALLY INTERESTING OFFER FAR MORE LIKE THE ORIGINAL MILL POND. AN APPROACH WHICH MAKES USE OF THE STREAM’S FLOW AND PROVIDES GREATER OPPORTUNITY FOR EXPERIENCING NATURE, WHILE USING THE CONCRETE EXCAVATED AS HARDCORE ACROSS THE BROADER SITE.
John Haxworth, Landscape Partner
- Regeneration of a redundant 6.5 acre gas works site
- £900,000pa in physical health and wellbeing value to the local community
- Encourages sustainable active movement
- New climbing wall
- Greened concrete columns
- Public art
- Dynamic lighting
- Performance space
Our design of the linear park carefully considers its environmental impact, prioritising the reuse of materials from the site and where new materials are required, they have been selected, as far as possible, to minimise their embodied carbon; with an aim of delivering a scheme which is net zero carbon.
Funding was critical for our vision to be realised and for CDP to progress this exciting regeneration project. Alongside presenting our design we also presented research from our new tool Greenkeeper which included a robust long-term financial and management model and showcased that the increased visitor numbers would result in £900,000 per annum in physical health and wellbeing value to the local community; this enabled the scheme to secure support and funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Works began on site in 2020, to ensure delivery in time for 2021 when Coventry became the UK’s City of Culture – a huge opportunity for the city to showcase its diverse and rich cultural offering UK and worldwide.
Browse the pictures below and see the new park come to life in this short video from CPD.