Landcraft Landscape, Sports and Civil Engineering

Landcraft Projects Limited, South Wales Office: Unit 3, Mill Farm,St Mellons Road, Lisvane Cardiff CF14 0SH Telephone 029 2076 4609 South West Office: Dingley Dell, Rydon Acres,Stoke Gabriel, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 6QJ Telephone 01803 782123

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BALI National Landscape Principal Award Winner – December 2008

We are very proud to announce that we have been awarded the Principal Award for Land Renewal and Regeneration at the prestigious British Association of Landscape Industries National Landscape Awards 2008 ceremony for our 'Riverside Park' project in Mountain Ash. The ceremony was held in The Great Room at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London on Friday 5th December and the award was presented by Clive Anderson.

The judges commented that "the contractor, through the careful and skilful use of the materials to hand, has succeeded in regenerating a derelict area that would otherwise have continued to blight this community. The result of their work is a valuable and popular public open space?.

The project, designed by Haire Landscape Consultants has created a new public park for Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council on the site of the former Navigation Colliery, which since the collieries demise had become a coal washery, then a goods plant yard and more lately just levelled waste ground.

We have created an area for local people to use as a place of relaxation and interest. It is also an important thoroughfare for pedestrians and cyclists along some 750 lm of new macadam paths to the town centre and the railway station. The paths through the park also now form an integral part of the Cynon Valley Cycle Route.

In the process of creating the park over 8000 tonnes of material have been moved to create a more interesting landform with planted mounds and a wetland area fed by an extensive drainage system.

We were required to maintain a public thoroughfare through the site at all times whilst the works were being undertaken and this was quite a challenge whilst the major earthworks were on going.

To reinforce the sites links with the past, more than a thousand reclaimed concrete railway sleepers have been set vertically to create retaining structures for planting terraces. Reclaimed sleepers have also been used at the base of an informal amphitheatre that has been created through the ground modelling exercise. Entry to the various levels of the amphitheatre is via gaps in Pennant Sandstone monolith features, created by using over 200 tonnes of rocks which were individually selected from a local quarry. At the base of the amphitheatre we created a semi-circular paved area for performing artists (which has since been paved with mosaics by others).

Phase two works involved building two large in-situ concrete bridge abutments faced with Pennant Sandstone and installing a 31 metre span cycle and footbridge over the river Cynon. A temporary road was constructed to provide access for the 200 tonne crane. This road was later removed and the stone used elsewhere on site. The lifting operation was a complete success with the bridge fitting perfectly on its abutments. Before we could install the bridge we were required to break out the central stone pier of a former bridge which required us to undertake quite major work within the river where access was extremely difficult.

Just before we were due to start building the bridge abutments an adjacent old retaining wall collapsed into the river following some severe local flooding. This caused a delay to the project and lead to us undertaking some major additional works. This involved temporarily redirecting the river to prevent any water course contamination and also to allow work to be carried out to a depth of two meters below the river bed. A large quantity of material was moved from the bank and an opportunity was seized to open up views of the river and visually connect with the parks tranquil wetland area. Comprehensive bank reconstruction was carried out, in part by placing large rocks and also using reclaimed Pennant Stone to rebuild walls. We were also able to continue part of the parks theme by building pieces of artwork into the new walls.

The more informal footpaths have been surfaced with stone dust whilst the main footpaths have been surfaced with macadam. Edging details include engineering brick, PCC kerbs and timber edge boards. Over 275 lm of steel handrailing has been fabricated and installed.

Scrubby vegetation and some existing trees have been cleared to improve the views along the river. Soft landscaping works have included seeding works and extensive tree planting. Other areas of the site have been deliberately left for natural regeneration. Unfortunately the site is suffering from regular and continuing vandalism and so although we have replaced vandalised trees, many more of the trees continue to be lost.

The client commissioned an artist to work concurrently on the project constructing feature entrance walls with sculptures, mosaics laid into stepping stones across the wetland and a large mosaic maize within the semi-circular performance area. We were able to form a good working relationship on site and assist the artist with many sections of his work.

In undertaking these works we have forged a good relationship with both the client and the landscape architect. Having completed all our maintenance obligations and handed the park over, we were appointed to develop the park further. This further work included constructing a lined pond within the wetland area, installation of additional fencing, redeveloping a car park and a continuation of the town hall cycle path connecting the car park to the new bridge and beyond.

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