21st Century Parks


21st Century Parks

Rother District Council and the City of Oostende have been award grant funding from the European Union (EU) programme called INTERREG.

C21P logo
Logo for Interreg 1va
European Union Flag

This funding will be used to support the 21st Century Parks project known as C21P. The Partners are working together to deliver improvements to parks and open spaces and to improve green linkages connecting urban areas and their rural surroundings.

The bid totals 967,682 Euros (almost £830,000), with INTERREG paying half.

The partners have started work through a series of workshops to share knowledge and experience across their new projects. The first workshop in November 2010 hosted by Oostende investigated at the concept level, what is required of public open space in the 21st century. Delegates and experts looked at the individual sites and the need to provide access to the public (local and wider) whilst balancing this against the need for protection of the environment, conservation and consideration of residents.

C21P Partners Meeting Visit to Oostende Project visitors C21P First Partners Workshop

The 1st workshop has already influenced Rother's proposals for Egerton Park, Bexhill. It is hoped that with the guiding influence of the delegates and their peers additional European funding may be released to extend the proposed Sensory Garden and assist with the regeneration of the park, and the wider regeneration of Bexhill through the attraction of more visitors. Click on the link Egerton Park for further details of the park.

C21p Visit to Sensory Garden

Sensory Garden Egerton Park Children's area
Click on this link below to see a short video of the first joint workshop held in November 2010
1st workshop video link

The 2nd workshop in March 2011 hosted by Rother District Council has further developed the conceptual design parameters in line with the wishes of delegates. Proposals for Egerton Park sensory garden have significantly changed with this pilot being extended and enhanced.
The format of the children's garden has been carefully considered and again the current design reflects the wishes of the workshop delegates.

The original brief for the Camber pilot was to look at walking routes around Camber. Over a period these have been incorporated into a master planning exercise which will inform a new supplementary planning document. This document will enhance Rother's core strategy fro planning. Consultations have already begun with Camber Parish Council. 
Further information on Camber Sands

C21p Sensory Garden visit C21p Interreg workshop2 Image C21p Interreg Partners Group
C21p Camber Visit by Interreg Partners Camber 2  

The 3rd workshop in October 2011 was held in Oostende and focussed on sustainability and maintenance issues. This aspect scrutinised the designs so far developed and helped to finalise the pilot projects. Whilst each pilot is different in its design parameters and progress, the work so far has benefited from the consideration and critique given by the workshop delegates.

Photos below show break-out session with all delegates having the opportunity to add their views. These sessions are a great leveller with each delegate having equal shares.

C21P Third Workshop group 1 C21p Third workshop group 2 C21p Third workshop Group
Our Belgian partners in Oostende have submitted 3 pilot projects for scrutiny through the workshops and have already taken on board the critique of the delegates and their peer experts. At workshop 2 we were reunited in the challenge of working together to produce and deliver detailed designs that reflect to the needs and wished of the 21st century public, the end users of these projects.
Visit to Oostende project Houtwal Park Walkway Oostende

The 4th Workshop of the C21P project took place in Belgium at the University of Ghent on 15 February 2012. At the start of the school year students of HoGent (BE) were given the task of redesigning open space areas of Egerton Park Bexhill or to create a masterplan for Camber Village. The students had visited the sites in September 2011 to look at the fundamentals of the pilot projects and immediately began working in teams on concept and design. 45 students presented their vision to 21st Century Parks team members and external experts from Belgium and the UK who were witness to some very talented thinking. Experts remarked, "We've noticed that the Belgians quite like water in parks and that Belgian and British people have a different view on mobility." "Students focused on enhancing public transport possibilities and reducing car parking however in the UK people rely on their cars to get around as public transport systems are not so developed." "The standard of presentation and materials is extremely high. Some very good cross-border concepts were presented such as the importance of access to sustainable facilities for all sections of the community."

The students' opinions and insights were considered with an open mind. Rother District Council had invited urban practitioners Allies and Morrison who are currently working on public engagement and consultation for Camber to attend. They were able to take away some good ideas which they may integrate into plans for the pilot project.

C21p 4th Workshop Camber Presentation C21p 4th Workshop Egerton Park Presentation 1 C21p 4th Workshop Egerton Park presentation 2

C21P Future Programme - In future postings you will learn more about Camber Village public engagement and consultation leading towards a masterplan, the launch of Egerton Park Children's Play zone and development of the Sensory Garden, and how the Emerald Necklace projects are progressing. At least two further C21P workshops are scheduled to take place this year and next. At the end of the C21P programme our Best Practice Guide will highlight all six pilot projects. This will be launched at the Grand Final Conference of the 21st Century Parks project to be held in April 2013 at Ostend.

Click on the link to see the Belgian website c21p Partners Oostende and facebook C21p Partners Facebook page

Egerton Park Playzone at Party in the Park - Workshop 5

The C21P 5th workshop took place at the opening of the Egerton Park Children's Playzone during the Party in the Park community event on Saturday 11 August 2012. The day began with a nautical themed family parade led by drummers and a jazz band marching from the De La Warr Pavilion along the newly refurbished seafront as they made their way to the free family entertainment, play, sporting and shopping activities on offer. Flavours of the World food and craft stalls gave an international feel on entering the park.

The opening of the Playzone was a massive draw. Hundreds of children rushed towards the new climbing features, swings and the popular Zip Wire. Joining us for the day, our Belgian partners were very impressed with the design and scale of the improvements, the excitement and atmosphere generated by the opening event in the park and the obvious success of the community-led activities. Previous Interreg IVA project workshops had played an important role in shaping the design and quality of the new children's play area. The project supported active community involvement in the development and design of an innovative artistic seating model and activities involving arts and community promotional activities in the lead up to the event.

C21P Party in the Park Parade C21p Opening of Egerton Park C21p Party in Park Equipment

The ParkLife photographic contest sponsored by Rother and Europe was concluded in conjunction with the event. Winning entries were displayed inside the Bexhill Museum as part of the free programme of events it was hosting to support the day.


Technical plans for the Garden for the Blind to be transformed into a Sensory Garden were displayed at the Party in the Park event. This work is now taking place during the final phase of park refurbishments completing overall improvements at the Park part-funded by Europe.

Camber Special Planning Document leading to a MasterPlan.
Local engagement and consultation led by consultants Allies and Morrison has now been completed. The SPD Consultation is expected to be approved by Councillors in the Autumn.

Link to Camber Visitor Management Initiative

Emerald Necklace (Groen Lint)

The Flemish Master Architect Open Tender is now completed. A new multi-disciplinary team has unveiled their vision for the 15 landscapes of the Emerald Necklace - the key ingredients of a green infrastructure and strategic plan encompass urban agriculture, renewable energies, water retention, recreation and leisure, community participation and art.

The landscapes are on the urban fringe just a few minutes away from the City centre of Oostende. Promotional guided public tours of the Emerald Necklace route by bus and bicycle have proved a success. The installation of the first of the 15 interactive information points began last year and have progressed during the Summer. Visitors may upload photos at each of the points and a contest will result in the winning entries and those of the Egerton Park Parklife winners being exhibited at the C21P Final Conference at Oostende in April 2013.

maritime lighting project along the route at 't Eilandje is progressing: Pupils at a local special school had suggested a maritime theme using buoys normally placed in the sea for navigation as future lighting for the Emerald Necklace. New prototypes using solar panels as a renewable energy source are being designed to act as beacons and a starting point for walking and cycling routes.

Click on the link to see the Belgian website  c21p Partners Oostende   and facebook C21p Partners Facebook page

The C21P project teams are expecting the pilot projects to further the development of green and blue infrastructure for landscapes, parks and public open spaces to bring them into the 21st Century.

C21p 6th workshops

Early in February 2013 a presentation on the development and launch of Combe Valley Countryside Park (a major green infrastructure project adjoining Bexhill on Sea) took place at Rother District Council and was followed by a walking tour of the Park conducted by the Park Ranger and Community Development Officer. The tour provided an opportunity to present the diverse landscape qualities of the proposed park zones and the intended future plans for enhancement and improvement of the Park.

At Combe Valley Countryside Park the vision is, 'To create and manage a high quality sustainable, attractive, accessible and multi-functional countryside area to serve the recreational, economic and health and well-being needs of residents and visitors'.

The proposed Countryside Park covers an area of 642 hectares within Rother District and Hastings Borough. In 2012 following a community survey the Park was formally named Combe Valley Countryside Park reflecting the wider context of the Park which creates an important green space within the strategic gap between the towns of Bexhill on Sea and Hastings.

The southern part adjoining Bulverhythe contains a landfill site, a waste transfer station, a household waste site and a waste water treatment works. The northern area comprises the Combe Haven valley SSSI and reed beds.

The intention is that the project will create a significant green space between the two towns and that the restored landfill site and adjoining land will be used for recreational purposes.

On the north eastern side of Bexhill a town expansion is proposed with in excess of 1,100 homes (associated local services) and some 48,000sq.m of business space (North East Bexhill Masterplan SPD 2009). The Bexhill-Hastings Link Road when constructed will link central Bexhill with Queensway in Hastings and will also provide a greenway between the two towns for use by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

The Countryside Park is a long term project which addresses the deficiency in green space for the towns of Hastings and Bexhill. The Park will serve an immediate population of 22,500 people and an overall urban population of 130,000 persons. It will provide an opportunity for active recreation, walking, cycling, equestrianism, bird watching, nature studies etc.

The 6th C21P Workshop was the final opportunity for our Belgian partners to visit us to exchange ideas on the creation of major green space. Useful discussions have taken place around the similarities and lessons learned from the development of the Groen Lint (Emerald Necklace) and the on-going implementation of the Combe Valley Countryside Park project.

For more information visit the website www.combevalleycountrysidepark.com

C21p Sixth workshop C21p Countryside Park View C21P Countryside Park New Gate

Project lectures for the Combe Valley Countryside Park, Groen Lint (Emerald Necklace,) Egerton Park and Camber projects were also held at the 21st Century Parks Final Conference at CC De Grot Post, Oostende on 25 April 2013.
For more information visit www.oostende.be/c21P

The Council submitted its application jointly with partners in Belgium, as part of an EU funded programme called INTERREG, which helps European regions work together.

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