Well it has only taken 11 years of my life to see this scheme on to the ground!
Friday 19th October saw the official opening of the Banbury Flood Alleviation Scheme that I personally started working on back in 2001.
2001 – A Banbury odyssey and all that!
The scheme to protect Banbury has cost £17million pounds to build and at times of flood will store water in a temporary flood storage reservoir on farmland upstream of Banbury slowly releasing it at a rate that will not inundate vulnerable areas of the town.
It sounds simple doesn’t it?
- Well to build the reservoir we have had to
- Excavate 200,000 Cubic metres of clay and soil to build an embankment almost 3km long.
- Move the river in three separate locations
- Raise 860m of the A361 road
- Excavate roman farmsteads
- Protect Historic Battlefields and more modern anti-aircraft emplacements, and
- Deal both with droughts and floods during its construction!
This last point means the scheme has already been tested. Back in April 2012, even before it was properly finished, a low level flood occurred and thankfully the scheme worked as it was designed to do.
Moving forward we are working with the Environment Agency and Cherwell District Council to help form a new Country Park in the area so it looks like we have a few more years service to complete on this long-running but ultimately very rewarding project!
Stuart – 23rd October, 2012
RLC were asked by Manchester Metropolitan University to give a talk at a gathering of newly graduated Landscape Architectures and fellow professionals at a celebration event held in CUBE Gallery, Manchester. The event coincided with the Masters Students end of year show and provided them with an opportunity to meet and showcase their work to professionals from around the UK.
It was clear upon entering the gallery that the tutors at MMU have allowed this year’s graduates to be more expressive with their exhibitions than in previous years. This resulted in a significantly raised bar and an exhibition that appeared well considered, highlighting a diverse range of responses to the brief and more than competing with the Architecture graduates exhibiting just next door.
RLC were one of three speakers on the night including Tom Lonsdale of Playcraft and fellow Landscape practice Kinnear who had travelled from London for the event. Jonathan Miley (Senior Landscape Architect) gave RLC’s talk and encouraged the next generation of Landscape Architects (and professionals alike) that it isn’t all bad out there at the moment and things are (although slowly) getting better.
After much deliberation Jonathan decided to talk about a number of commissions the practice is currently undertaking using them to demonstrate the diverse range of projects Landscape Architects get involved with – some of which are more obvious that others! These ranged from helping a zoo to re-arrange a number of animal enclosures, developing multi-million pound flood defence schemes working with the Environment Agency and trying to convince Anglesey County Council that sinking a warship off the coast of Anglesey to create an artificial dive reef was a great idea! Jonathan argued that it’s the professions inherent flexibility and the diversity of skills that are our greatest asset. All we need to do now is educate the client to think the same!
Jonathan ended his talk on a subject that is currently in the media spot light, describing the work the practice does in this area as one of its most fulfilling. Whilst developing flood alleviation schemes isn’t viewed as the most glamorous work for Landscape Architects, it’s certainly one area that has the greatest positive effect of people lives. These schemes help safeguard communities, homes, businesses and places of work for the future. They involve the creation of new dams, embankments and flood walls and can run through open countryside, town centres or people’s back gardens. They involve community consultation, masterplanning, concept and detailed design, environmental assessment and habitat creation. In short, they encompass all that we do as Landscape Architects….they help to protect the environment whilst improving people’s lives.
The event was well attended by both students and professionals and the message from all speakers appeared to be the same; stay flexible and remember diversity is the key to the continued development, and survival, of the profession.
Last Saturday the team celebrated the end of the project and the parks 100th anniversary by attending the Official Opening of the refurbished Dunwood Park.
After many months of hard work by ourselves, Oldham Borough Council’s countryside and horticultural teams, many volunteers and the Contractor, Casey Construction the park has finally come to fruition and opened to the public.
If you are thinking of something similar near your home and want to make a difference: maybe to a local park, school or area of open space in need of TLC please give us a call. We would be delighted to help, no matter how large or small the site or how crazy the ideas you have may be!
For a period of 1 month only during October 2012, RLC are offering individuals, companies and interest groups a free 2 hour consultation session. A “Walk and Talk” with you by one of our experienced landscape architects to answer questions on taking the first steps, looking at ways to access Heritage Lottery Funding.
Please call Stuart or Alice on 01244 400064 to arrange.
Alice and Stuart had a busy couple of days in Morpeth recently as they helped present and staff the preliminary design proposals for the town’s flood alleviation scheme. Two events were organised in association with the Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council. A town-wide event held at Morpeth Town Hall saw an estimated 100 people through the door to learn the good news that the scheme had received £21million of funding and that detail design had commenced. The next day a drop-in session held in the highly attractive High Stanners part of town explored the preliminary proposals with at least 80 residents braving the heavy rain to attend.
Stuart Ryder – Director
The two trees have gone! We’ve had the corporate lumberjacks in and they have felled our trees to make place for our new, ‘swish’ logo – green and dynamic just like us. The new image is part of a re-branding exercise we are rolling out that includes new marketing material and increased business to business contact.
We are currently working on the 3d ground model of the Cherwell Country Park in Key Terra Firma and Sketchup to form an accurate representation of the current ground conditions on site. The area illustrated was extensively quarried for clay which was used to construct the flood embankment core. Over 170,000 metres cubed of material was dug out. Consequently reinstatement back to the original condition would be costly as a large amount of material would have to be imported to fill the void left. Topographical surveys and 3d ground models have been produced to aid in identifying areas where existing stockpiles of waste material produced by the Banbury FAS scheme could be positively used. The model has aided the design process in determining primary areas where ground work will be required and the most accessible routes around the Cherwell Country Park.
Banbury Flood Alleviation Scheme finally got underway on site back in February 2011 and is due to be completed in summer 2012. As part of the scheme, RLC were asked to design a new Country Park that would connect areas that were used by the flood defence scheme. The two main areas were Wildmere Industrial estate woodland, formerly inaccessible to the public and a parcel of land adjacent to the M40 that was used to excavate the clay used to construct the flood embankment. Ordinarily, the Environment Agency would seek to reinstate areas used by the flood defence scheme back to their former condition, but in collaboration with Cherwell District Council the opportunity to develop the area into a country park for Banbury was too appealing.
RLC have worked closely with The Environment Agency and Cherwell District Council to design a broad strategic Masterplan of the area and implement parts where funding has been available. Below are a series of photos of the new woodland footpath at Wildmere Industrial Estate that is currently being constructed. The area will also benefit from new planting to enhance the existing woodland and also a series of wildlife scrape that will bring ecological diversity to the area. This will eventually link up to other parts of the proposed country park.
Over the past few weeks the residents of Shaw, Oldham will have noticed a new addition to their park and they wouldn’t be blamed for thinking something ‘out of this world’ has landed in their little neighbourhood! Yes, the DUNWOOD PARK CLIMBING BOULDER has finally landed and has made a bit more of an impression than first envisaged.
The boulder is the result of a successful Stage 2 Heritage Lottery Fund Bid in 2010 by Oldham Council supported by Ryder Landscape Consultants (RLC). The works, which are currently onsite, include the restoration of key historic park features, the enhancement of recreational facilities for the local community and improvements to a main avenue through the park adjacent to the River Beal. RLC are acting as Contract Administrator on behalf of Oldham Council for the duration of the site works. We are now approximately half way through the construction phase and the park improvements are really starting to take shape (expect more blog entries as works progress!).
It isn’t just the park that’s getting a face lift. LEP Architects have been working on two new community building within the park and we have been working closely with them to ensure their successful integration into the wider proposals.
The boulder is the centre piece of a new woodland playscape and has been designed to include a number of different climbing routes of varying degrees of difficulty. Once the onsite installation is complete and it’s been given a paint job (to make it look like rock!) the RLC team will be taking a trip to Oldham to try it out for ourselves, we’ll be reporting back on how we got on in the near future…..watch this (outer) space.
A very successful drop-in session which we helped to organise and staff to promote the Water End Flood Alleviation Scheme in York, currently being undertaken by the Environment Agency.
Previous engagement events where met with little interest so this latest one was moved to St Barnabas School Hall to capture the school pick-up crowd. Over 70 people attended during the 4 hour event and were able to meet the design team for the scheme and discuss other aspects of flood warning and flood-proofing their properties.
We also designed the scheme information boards that were used at the event using our in house Graphic Designer.
The overall response to the scheme was positive and we look forward to working further with the Environment Agency to help mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of flooding and enhance public access and recreation in the Water End local.
Our recently completed pocket park located in Chester City Centre has played host to Chester’s Big Wheel over the festive season. Sadly, today is the last day people will be able to take a trip on the wheel until it’s hopeful return next year.
The park forms an important new public space at a major transport hub within Chester City Centre. The project, completed earlier this year, was designed as an arena space for such events as hosting the wheel and it certainly feels good to see it being used to full effect. I’m told the views over the Welsh mountains from the wheel were impressive, almost as impressive as the views of the planting below!
The design of the park was developed as a ‘meanwhile’ space utilising the land temporarily, although required to deliver maximum flexibility and aesthetic quality for public realm immediately adjacent to Chester’s busy main bus terminal. Designs also had to provide for a new National Express interchange and facilitate pedestrian movement throughout the wider area and involved working with critical archaeological conditions that restricted the depth of excavation to protect known and unknown assets from the Roman town. The use of seating, shrub and tree planting and informal mounding creates a quieter public space in what is otherwise a busy area of the city centre.
We look forward to seeing what events Cheshire West and Chester Council choose to hold in the park in the future!
The RLC team.