A £3.3m scheme to restore and regenerate Stevenage Town Centre Gardens has been completed by HTA Landscape Design, equipping the site with the UK’s only pre-stressed granite bridge
Stevenage Borough Council and the Green Heart Project commissioned the project, requiring that the previously run-down four-hectare park be restored to its former glory as an integral part of the original Stevenage New Town development.
The initial phase of the project commenced in 2006 and included masterplanning for the site and the restoration of its original features and framework.
The main phase involved the restoration of the remaining parkland, lake and play area with a new sensory garden creating a stunning contemporary intervention in an undeveloped area of the site. This work was funded by a successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Parks for People’ – a first for a New Town park. HTA acted as lead consultant, landscape architect, contract administrator, architect and project manager.
The centrepiece of the refurbished gardens is a pre-stressed granite bridge designed by HTA, spanning 14m with a deck thickness of only 28cm and a weight of 22 tonnes. The bridge has no beam or piers and is the only one of its kind in the UK.
Other works included the renovation of the lake and fountains, memorial and sensory gardens, new public toilet, a play area, 1.5km of new paths and ecological enhancements including the planting of over 50,000 bulbs and wildflowers.
Commenting on the work carried out by HTA, Gordon Drake, green spaces project manager at Stevenage Borough Council, said: “We have been extremely impressed with HTA’s approach to this project, from their hands-on involvement and commitment to public engagement, to their creative yet extremely professional attention to detail, and their capability in managing the implementation on time and on budget. Their research into the heritage of the Gardens was very impressive and their design work was sensitive and respectful to the original features.’’