Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Next Wave phase one open to the public

Two reasons to celebrate... Bexhill phase 1 opened to the public... and our first post.

The htalandscape team were delighted to hand over phase 1 of the Next Wave in Bexhill-on-Sea.

The CABE Seachange funded Next Wave scheme aims to make the seafront and public realm surrounding the iconic Grade 1 listed De La Warr Pavilion a more attractive place for residents and visitors to Bexhill and a catalyst for the economic regeneration of this Edwardian seaside resort. HTA’s design work is based on an urban design framework that was widely consulted on and attracted funding from CABE in 2008. Our designs have taken that vision and made it real.

The project signifies the delivery of a key strategic milestone in Rother District Council’s regeneration plans for the town and district. The project aims to increase activity, accessibility, usability and biodiversity. The works include upgrading 800 linear metres of public promenade; creating a new Public Park sculpted into a series of grass terraces from an area of underused open space. A water-play installation will feature at the front of the listed Pavilion and informal play has been scattered throughout the public realm.

In addition to the public realm works, a new destination restaurant and retail development is being created from the refurbishment of the early twentieth century grade II listed Colonnade with a new Bexhill Rowing Club being built adjacent.

The design creates a sense of place that is unique to and instantly recognisable as Bexhill on Sea. 
The promenade has been designed to create a linear park that promotes:
  • Playing
  • Planting
  • Promenading
The phase one site is 600m long and 12m wide. the design seeks to create an active 'promenade park' of playing, picnicing, sitting and planting spaces. The park serves as an ante-room to the beach, extending the beach based 'barefoot activity' to above the sea wall and into the town also extending the 'beach season' by providing shelter and facilities for vistors.

The existing 6m wide promenade has been retained with new 'garden rooms' added to the landward side - replacing existing patches of grass that were open to the adjacent road. Four new shelters have been located along the length of the promenade as well as improvements to the seating of the existing cafe and kiosk.

The garden rooms provide an alternative public amenity to the beach, informal spaces that can be used in a variety of ways. sheltered, beautifully planted spaces where family groups can congregate and socialise in a safe controlled environment.

The planting scheme has been developed to thrive in the the most demanding environment. The site is due south facing on very light sandy soils and is constantly exposed to salt laden winds coming off the English Chanel. In severe weather conditions sea spray regularly over tops the sea wall.
A mix of perennial and sub-shrub planting has been devised to provide colour throughout the growing season, elegant form in the winter and extensive garden habitat for improving the biodiversity of the site. The planting has been themed with colour palettes ranging from greens through pinks and reds to vivid blues.

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