West Hendon Playing Fields Design Contest launched

The London Borough of Barnet (LBB) in partnership with the Landscape Institute have launched a two-stage design contest to select an outstanding designer or team of designers to prepare proposals for a wide ranging and comprehensive package of improvements to transform the West Hendon Playing Fields from its current form to an exemplary destination park.

The contest is looking for innovative ideas and proposals to work with and take advantage of the unique constraints and opportunities of the site in order to design a transformational greenspace for the local community. The LBB intends to award a contract to the winning entrant for the development of the winning scheme, with the total project budget of £18.8m.

West Hendon Playing Fields is a large public open space located in the London Borough of Barnet near to West Hendon. It is a well-used community and sporting resource, offering a range of outdoor leisure facilities, including football pitches, tennis courts and a cricket square. It is also home to a nursery, martial arts club and lawn bowls club, located within a building (The Pavilion) in the north-east section of the site. There is a significant ecological contribution from the site itself and its surroundings. The site has been identified for investment in facilities, access and its identity.

Councillor Alan Schneiderman, Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, said:

“We are delighted to be progressing with this ambitious project to completely transform West Hendon Playing Fields. This will create a magnificent green space in the heart of an otherwise very urban area for everyone to enjoy. We hope that this will become a place that people want to visit. With the right landscape architect leading this project, we’re sure we can make our vision a reality.”

There are clear opportunities to develop facilities and services which not only meet local need for improved sports and community facilities but enhance and protect the unique nature and location of the site, particularly related to its SSSI design. As well as developing a new sports hub and community facilities for local residents, there is an opportunity to improve basic pedestrian and cycle route connections to and around the wider site.

The contest asks entrants to develop ideas for re-imagining the park in order to transform it into a popular, well used destination. It is a unique opportunity to contribute to the evolving discussion about the role that green spaces will play in creating better places to live; how access to good quality green space can help to address issues that our communities are facing and how to combat climate change.

Acknowledging that first and foremost this is a park project, London Borough of Barnet have selected the Landscape Institute as a partner to help stage and manage the contest. This arrangement also reflects the aim that the design teams entering the contest will be led by a Landscape Architect.

The competition will follow a two-stage process. Stage One is an ideas contest that invites entrants to showcase their visionary thinking. It is open to suitably accredited professional teams, and not students. The three highest scoring entries will be shortlisted and invited to proceed to stage Two of the contest where they will develop their proposals in more detail. On submission of a compliant entry the shortlisted entrants will be awarded an honorarium of £10,000.00. The LBB intends to award a contract to the winning entrant for the development of the winning scheme up to RIBA Work Stage 3 and including the submission of a planning application.

The entries are open for 2 months starting from 19th July 2022. Further information about the competition and how to submit is available at: https://competitions.landscapeinstitute.org/west-hendon

The expected scheme capital cost is estimated to be £16.6m. Additional costs such as resourcing, professional fees and legal fees are estimated at £2.2m. Therefore, the total project budget is £18.8m inclusive of contingencies.

West Hendon Playing Fields

  • Barnet Council has in recent years, developed a series of key strategic documents designed to shape the delivery of sport and physical activity services and facilities in parks and open spaces across the Borough. These include a Playing Pitch Strategy (2017), a Parks and Open Spaces Strategy (2016-2026) and the Fit and Active Barnet Framework (2016-2021). The documents are underpinned by a commitment within the Council’s Corporate Plan that ‘Barnet’s parks and open spaces will be amongst the best in London.’
  • The Council is seeking to implement some of the recommendations made by these strategies by exploring the development of new sports hubs at three identified strategic sites – Barnet Copthall, West Hendon Playing Fields and Barnet / King George V Playing Fields.
  • Section 106 contributions arising from the regeneration of the West Hendon estate have presented an opportunity to improve the facilities on the playing fields and surrounding areas with the aim of promoting and increasing participation in sport and physical activity in the locality and raising the profile of the SSSI .
  • The West Hendon Playing Fields (WHPF) Project aims to deliver significant improvements to a flagship greenspace within the London Borough of Barnet. Through improvements to the quality of the park; the introduction of a community sports hub; assorted indoor and outdoor recreational facilities and improvements to connectivity within and around the site, the Council is aiming to create a premier open space within North-West London for both residents and visitors alike.

Landscape Institute

  • The Landscape Institute (LI) is the chartered body for the landscape profession. It is an educational charity that promotes the art and science of landscape practice. The LI provides a professional home for all landscape practitioners including landscape scientists, landscape planners, landscape architects, landscape managers and urban designers. The Landscape Institute supports their members through advocacy programmes, events and numerous networking activities, many of which are organised through their branches across the UK. https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/

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