WHAT NEXT FOR WESTMEAD?
Chippenham Borough Lands Charity has owned large parcels of land in Chippenham since 1554 when Queen Mary drew up a Royal Charter giving the lands to the people of Chippenham. You can find out more about the charity below.
Westmead playing fields and open space is a key green area close to the centre of town. Until 10 years ago it was the town’s only sports fields and it was used by a large number of different groups. However, since the Stanley Park sports centre was built on the outskirts of town it has been used much less apart from the annual folk festival once a year and a few dog walkers. Anti social and criminal behaviour has been increasing in the area and it is felt that now is the time to look to improve the site’s offering and hence get people using it again.
CBLC already has a few things in motion for the area, including a new visitors car park on the Pewsham bypass, to facilitate disabled access to the open parkland, and recently secured funding for over 6000 trees to be planted on the open space beyond Avenue La Fleche.
THE SITE AS IT IS…
On the site are three old buildings; a scout hut, the old sports pavilion and a hut that St John Ambulance used but is now so dilapidated that it needs to be demolished.
The existing hard standing is being used as a car park for low paid workers in town.
There have been previous attempts to revitalise the site over the years including a country park but none of these ever got off the ground.
A little over a year ago the Trustees commissioned a local architect, Robert Elkins, to draw up plans for a community hub. This was based on a stakeholder (charity and community groups) consultation. The consultation identified a need for a revised centre to accommodate the current groups, local and national charities and other community groups struggling to work in the town.
The playing fields
The existing huts
The open space
The river bank
For more images of the site as it is, please go to the Gallery link in the top right of the page
WHO ARE CHIPPENHAM BOROUGH LANDS CHARITY?
Our Charity was first established after Queen Mary granted a Royal Charter to Chippenham in 1554. She gave Crown Land to the Borough and the income was split between paying for two local Members of Parliament and the upkeep of the town bridge over the River Avon.
Changes to Chippenham
As a result of the Local Government Review in 1835, Chippenham became a Borough and the current Bailiff and Burgesses were replaced by a Mayor, Alderman and Burgesses. The newly formed Borough Council assumed all properties, debts and assets from the Bailiff and Burgesses, including the Borough lands.
As a result of the 1974 Local Government Act, the North Wiltshire District Council (NWDC) was founded. This assumed all properties, debts and assets from the Borough Council. Shortly after, a proposed road scheme led to the careful study of the charters and deeds relating to the Borough Lands. After much studying and advice, it was confirmed that the Borough Lands was, in fact, a charitable trust and not property of the NWDC. Further investigation found that the NWDC had unlawfully acquired the lands and so financial reparation had to be given to compensate for the loss.
On 18th April 1990, the Charity Commission granted a scheme called The Charities (Borough Lands Charity) Chippenham Order and the new Trustees took office. This led to the deeds, documents and assets being formally handed over to the Trustees in October 1990. As a result, the Charity had a large amount of money, some of which was Capital (which cannot be spent) and some Income (available to spend).
If you want to know more why not visit their website: www.cblc.org.uk
WHO ARE ELKINS ARCHITECTS?
We are a local, sustainable architecture and building firm. We have a small team of designers, concentrating on things which need interesting and innovative solutions. We are very passionate about Chippenham and are excited to hear what people think about the possibilities for Westmead.
If you want to know more about us visit our website: www.elkinsarchitects.co.uk
The stakeholder consultation identified a need for charitable services providing for the following:
• Under 16’s, young mothers and single women.
• The homeless/sofa surfers.
• The elderly
• Start-ups (both charitable and creative industries)
• The Arts (performing arts and what we call the messy arts)
THE FUTURE OF THE SITE
We have already liaised with the following charities who are all keen to be involved:
• The Rise Trust
• Carer Support Wiltshire
• Age UK
• Alzheimer’s Society
• The Scout Association
• St John Ambulance
EXISTING AND PROPOSED SCHEME FOR SITE
drag the line left and right to see the difference
WHAT’S A HUB?
The “Hub” is based on the American model whereby all age groups are located in a single centre and can benefit from each other through sharing of knowledge and resources. The charities using the Hub also benefit from resource sharing and mentoring as well as inter-charity referrals.
3 PHASE PROJECT
There are three phases to the proposal as it stands:
• The Hub
• The Activity Zone
• The Amphitheatre
Each is explored in more depth in the following pages. Please click the links at the bottom or top to look at each section independently.
Initial funding enquiries with various national and local bodies have been positive enough for us to progress to the next stage of ideas for the site.
We have already had preliminary discussions with the planning department at Wiltshire Council who are keen to see the community use of the site improved. There is nothing like this in Wiltshire and it is hoped that this could be a flagship for Chippenham that other towns will follow.
The main Hub viewed from the sports field.
View from the Hub to the activity zone with the river behind.
History of flooding:
Anyone who lives or works, and probably even visits Chippenham, is likely to know that Westmead Sports Ground is a flood plain. It floods on average twice a year for up to a week at a time. As such, any development of the site must be sure to mitigate potential flood risk in its design.
Flood Levels and Future Proofing of Flood Risk to the Town:
As part of our design and flood risk assessments, we will work closely with the Environment Agency to ensure that we accommodate both current flood issues and future environmentally sensitive projections. The Westmead proposal is downstream of the town centre, and although it’s extremely important to ensure that there is no additional risk of impediment to the course of the river, the risk to exacerbating town centre flooding will be greatly reduced by good management of the site.
Our Initial Flood Responses:
1. The Main Hub:
These buildings are sited within zone 2 (as per the maps below) which means there is a much lower chance of floodwaters rising this high. The small elements which enter zone 3 could be designed to be raised on small pillars to ensure they remain above the water levels and keep a route to higher ground.
2. The Playing Fields:
The playing fields are situated on the higher risk, Flood Zone 3, area of Westmead. This is an active flood plain and – as such – we must allow for these occurrences in the following ways:
a. The volume of water handled by the flood plain must not be diminished. Our design for the landscaping and buildings can achieve this by ‘trading off’ sunken areas of development, such as the amphitheatre, with areas that have been raised.
b. Continual passage of flood water is important and key elements of the development will ensure that there are no barriers or additional obstructions to flood waters.
c. Hard landscaping must be adequately compensated for and any such construction on the site can be mitigated by a number of different sustainable drainage solutions such as swales or flow control chambers, reed beds or ponds.
d. When flooding recedes we need to ensure that the design of the site allows it to become useable again as quickly as possible.
The proposed tree planting (due to start Jan 2017) in the open space beyond Avenue La Fleche has already been designed to hold a higher proportion of Willow as a flood mitigation measure.
Remember please do give us your feedback, at any time click the link on the right of the page (or at the top) and fill in as much or as little of the form as you like.