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Brooklands transformation takes a step closer to reality

Released: Friday, 05 June 2020

Plans to transform Brooklands Park into a jewel-in-the-crown destination have taken a big step forward.

Planning permission has been given to build a new state-of-the-art cafe, toilets and play area at the Park paving the way for the entire green space to be converted into a breathtaking science adventure park with the emphasis on fun and finding out.

The £3m Worthing Borough Council project will involve building:

Now council officers will be moving to the next stage of development, undertaking technical design before the construction work goes out to tender before the end of the year.

Leading landscape architects Turkington Martin are leading the project.

Director Mike Martin said:

“We aim to create a unique landscape not found anywhere else in Worthing, allowing engagement with nature for everyone in new and exciting ways.”

Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for the Environment, Cllr Edward Crouch, said:

“I'm pleased we have now cleared another important hurdle so that we can build new toilets and a fantastic new cafe for Brooklands.

“Obviously lockdown has slowed down progress somewhat but we said we would revive this much-loved landmark into something everyone can be proud of again and that is exactly what we intend to do.”

A section of the south west corner of the park has been earmarked for indoor play and adventure and will be the subject of separate planning procedures at a later date.

See also:

Image: Brooklands Park - view across the lake with map and signage (artist's impression)

PR20-058 - Brooklands Park - view across the lake with map and signage

 

PR20-058 - Brooklands Park - lakeside seating

Image: Brooklands Park - lakeside walks (artist's impression)

PR20-058 - Brooklands Park - lakeside walks

Image: Brooklands Park - play area (artist's impression)

PR20-058 - Brooklands Park - play area

Image: Brooklands Park - seating area and flowerbeds (artist's impression)

PR20-058 - Brooklands Park - seating area and flowerbeds

Q&A about the plans to transform Brooklands Park

Planning permission has been given by Worthing Borough Council for a new state-of-the-art cafe at Brooklands Park, paving the way for the rest of the £3m development of the whole park. Here director of landscape architects Turkington Martin, Mike Martin (MM) answers questions on how his company will now progress with plans for the much loved landmark.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your company and other projects you have worked on?

MM: Turkington Martin is a design led practice of landscape architects and urban designers. Our studio is just by the Oval Cricket Ground in South London. We work on a range of different types of projects, including new residential landscapes, streets and squares, parks and gardens. Our approach always focuses on the needs of the community and informed by an understanding of local identity, the natural environment and the urban context. The practice firmly believes that the creation of high-quality outdoor places can make a real difference to people's quality of life and their health and mental well-being.

Turkington Martin has helped deliver a number of parks and open spaces, including the remodelling of Shepherds Bush Common, in west London, the restoration of Vauxhall Park, a Victorian park in Lambeth and a destination water play park at Peckham Rye Common; all developed in close collaboration with their respective Friend's Groups and local communities. We are also designing Springfield Park next to Alder Hey Hospital for Children in Liverpool, where an accessible green environment is fundamental to improving the children's health, promoting well-being and getting better. The practice is working with the Trust, Liverpool City Council, partner groups and the local community to realise their vision for the park, which has developed around four principles of, Something for Everyone, Grow your Own, Sport for All and Social Events. The aim is to empower the local community and help them interact with nature to improve their health, well-being, quality of life and provide opportunities for life-long learning.

We enjoy collaborating and designing as part of a team with other professionals. In this instance, we have brought together architects, engineers, ecologists, highway consultants, access consultants, engagement consultants, quantity surveyors and town planners to make sure we arrive at the best solutions possible.

Q What attracted you to the Brooklands project and what did you make of the site as it stands?

MM: Our team was delighted to be selected to work with the Council to develop the initial concept design and help deliver a new Brooklands Park. We were first attracted to the project by the exciting potential Brooklands Park has for transformation and how this might be achieved in a more sustainable way.

Similar challenges of purpose, content, funding and management are facing a number of parks and local authorities around the country. There is terrific interest from the local community in the project, which is healthy and encouraging for us.

We were aware when we started, of the amazing response you received from the early consultations and the generally positive attitude towards change. We were also mindful that as we arrived many of the much-loved park features from the past were being removed. We were enthused however, by the recent successes such as the renovation of the lake, planting and boardwalk.

We were drawn to the varied character of the park and how that might be exploited and enhanced by introducing a science and ecological based experience.

Q What is your vision for the site? How will it build on the masterplan?

MM: The team's vision for the park draws together three strands; learning, inclusivity and health and well-being. We want Brooklands Park to become a huge interactive outdoor classroom and a science and learning resource that supports the wider STEM curriculum. We envisage schools and families finding new ways and opportunities to learn about habitats, ecosystems, natural forces and materials.

The Council sees this natural approach to planting and management as a way to feed into and help inform their response to the Climate Emergency. We aim to create a unique landscape not found anywhere else in Adur and Worthing, allowing engagement with nature for everyone in new and exciting ways.

There will be improved access to and around the park with new gateways, paths and seating areas. The new cafe and play facilities will be designed with everyone in mind, making sure people with specific needs can enjoy the Park and all it has to offer. We intend to ensure that every member of the community has access to different experiences.

Our approach is to encourage physical activity & exercise with new adventure play, walking trails, & cycle paths. Seating areas and a new park café will help bring people together & socialise. Local people, through the Friends Group, can take an active part in caring for Brooklands Park and ensure its future for years to come.

Q What most excites you about working on projects like this? What do you think people coming to the park will get from the experience?

MM: Talking to the local community and park users, there appears to be a real appetite to see change. Our team is working hard to make sure we help realise the future aspirations for Brooklands Park. The park has some exciting new additions.

One of the principle features is the café and toilets, designed as a gateway into the park. The facilities are connected under one roof, located just off Western Road overlooking the water, in a similar place to the old cafe. A new destination play area is designed with adventurous play and other features that focus on learning, social interaction and inclusive play.

Another exciting feature is the glades, or outside rooms, created on the site of the former golf course. Here, different themes are explored within each glade, such as the seasons, wind and air, nature and plants for building. There is also a community garden for local food and plant growing, with space for eating together and gardening demonstrations. In one area, the levels are raised up to create a mount that everyone can walk up and then look out over the lake. A sensory ribbon, or trail weaves throughout the park with different types of planting, surfaces, things to touch, and listen to.

The idea is to focus the sensory experience, drawing attention to different features and planting types along the trail. The more senses that can be engaged with, the richer the experience and more is remembered.

A new ramped access down into the park will be built from the Western Road/Brighton Road corner entrance. New signs will signal three pedestrian entrances around the park. We see Brooklands Park as a treasured community asset as well as a destination for those living further afield.

We hope everyone, whatever their age and ability will find pleasure strolling round the lake, sitting, chatting, taking in the views across the water, enjoying a drink and meal in the café, meeting new friends, playing, exploring the glades, learning about plants, the natural world and the contribution it makes to our environment, or sitting in the contemplative garden beside the Teville Stream.

Q How will you involve the public in the on-going progress of the scheme?

MM: It is vital that the park is inclusive for everyone and be welcoming and accessible for all ages and abilities; with that in mind we aim to engage with as many groups as possible, including schools, disability groups and probably most importantly The Friends of Brooklands Park. We undertook consultation during the recent popular Halloween event in the park, where the proposals were generally well received with positive feedback on the glades and the play area in particular. It is proposed to keep the community involved and up to date with the design development via the Friends group.

Q What are the timescales?

MM: It is planned to undertake technical design to enable the project to go out to tender so that it can start on site towards the end of 2020.

(PR20-058)

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