Westmead Activity Centre Construction
The Westmead Activity Centre is being built on Westmead Playing Field which can be found at the end of Westmead Lane, a short walking distance from Chippenham town centre. The field is a short walk from the town centre car parks and bus station and a 15-minute walk from Chippenham train station.
The centre is being built on a corner of Westmead Playing Field (behind the Wessex water site). The aerial view above might help to place where the Climbing Centre and Skatepark are being built.
We hope that the Westmead Activity Centre will open to the public in early 2022.
The new climbing centre and skatepark is being funded from our charity’s investments together with a £100,000 grant towards the climbing centre from Sport England and £200,000 towards the skate park from Wiltshire Council.
We have investments that generate a budget for us to use for the benefit of Chippenham’s inhabitants. You can read more about the history of our charity on our website here – https://www.cblc.org.uk/our-history/.
The Climbing Academy (TCA) will be running The Arc. TCA is an exceptional and experienced operator of climbing centres in Bristol and Glasgow.
We look forward to working with TCA in the provision of these first-class facilities subject to finalising occupation and management arrangements.
We are fully aware that the field floods and issues of flooding on this site were always at the fore of the design process for this project. A full set of experts in their respective fields have designed drainage, civils, structure, SUDS and storm water management to ensure that the scheme has a net benefit to the flood plain. The scheme itself is sited in the area least affected by the recent flooding and one of the reasons the project is costing so much to build is its innovative, flood resistant design.
The Westmead Activity Centre has been designed at one and a half metres above the existing field. The building is supported on stilts, and is constructed of suitably durable materials below the flood levels, to ensure a serviceable design life.
The landscaping and building form have been designed such that the normal function of the floodplain is not impinged upon. Flood water storage and gradual reintroduction to the river is an important function of the site, and measures have been taken to model and preserve this. The site will flood as normal without affecting wildlife or other adjacent low-lying riverside areas, whilst providing access to the offered facilities at the required level for safe occupancy.
Works on the site to date have already improved the existing foul drainage infrastructure. An existing but concealed foul manhole was uncovered by the contractor and brought up to the required standards by Wessex Water.
The project has been designed to not only be safe in even the most extreme potential flood scenarios but also provide a net benefit by storing flood water beneath it and within the skate park. The skate park is designed at field level and is expected to flood when the field does but this has been designed into it. The plain will hold more water, more efficiently and will slow the discharge of water to improve other areas downstream.
The Westmead Activity centre will have a flood management plan in place to ensure the users, workers and visitors are all safe from flooding. Forewarning will be given should floods be anticipated and in extreme weather conditions the site will be closed for public use.
There will be limited parking facilities at Westmead Activity centre. Parking will be reserved for Westmead Activity Centre staff and disabled access only. We will be encouraging people to access the site using sustainable transport means. Please note the field is a short walk from the town centre car parks and bus station and a 15-minute walk from Chippenham train station. The site will have full cycle access.
Nearby public car parks include Borough Parade Car Park (Max stay 2 hours), Emery Gate Car Park (Maximum stay 3 hours), Gladstone Road (Maximum stay 2 hours), Wood Lane (All day).
Noise from the skate park is shielded by the surrounding buildings and masked by existing levels of traffic noise from Avenue La Fleche.
The issue of potential anti-social behaviour in and around the new Westmead Activity centre has been carefully considered in the planning for the site.
The skate park will be a free to use but ‘managed’ facility. The new climbing centre is being run by The Climbing Academy (TCA) who are an experienced climbing operator and will also be managing use of the skatepark. The skate park will not be a controlled environment but TCA staff will be available to provide help and support as needed.
Skatepark users have to go through the main building to get to the skatepark. The skate park will only be open to users during the opening hours of The Arc climbing centre and planning permission dictates that this is no longer than 8am to 8pm daily.
Staff working at The Arc (the new climbing centre) will be ensuring all users have left the facility before locking up the premises. There will be fencing to restrict out of hours access to the skate park and there will be security cameras in operation at the site.
We are looking into setting up a resident’s liaison committee to work together before and should any issues arise. Please contact us if you are interested in joining this and/or would like further information on this.
Fencing plan – blue line shows the fencing around the skate park.
From the entrance and foyer design to corridor and door widths and lighting, the Westmead Activity Centre has been designed to be an accessible building for all.
There is onsite parking for disabled badge holders with a wide footpath providing the access route to the entrance. Blister paving has been included to highlight onsite road crossing and a setting down area has been provided with adjacent benches for people to use whilst waiting. Footpath surfaces are tarmac/block paving with external walkways to be suitability lit during the operational times of the building.
The entrance doors are power assisted with manual controls and the reception counter will have a lowered section with knee recess. All doorways are a minimum of 750mm clear opening and corridors have been kept to a minimum and are not less than 1200mm, with passing spaces.
The public café is on the ground floor with full accessibility to wheelchairs and those using pushchairs. The café will have two accessible toilets with one including a baby changing facility. A further accessible WC has been included between the bouldering and rope climb areas, opposite the main entrance doors. Assistance alarms will be included within all three facilities. Male and Female WC’s in the South block ground floor include one ambulant 800mm wide cubicle each.
Wheelchair users have direct access to the North block on the ground floor for climbing and bouldering activities. The facilities on the first floor of the south block are limited to bouldering, and a children’s party area. There is no lift access to the first floor as the bouldering facilities are duplicated within the North block (ground floor) and the children’s parties can also be held within the multi-purpose room on the ground floor of the South block, when required.
Please get in contact if you would like further detail on accessibility arrangements.
The planning process included the submission of a Construction Environmental Management Plan. This sets out the working hours where site activities can occur which are: –
- 8.00 to 17.00 Monday to Friday.
- 8.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays.
Construction workers and approved site visitors can be on site outside of these hours but construction activities should not be happening.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the construction site or work, please contact Ben Mees, Contract Manager, Rigg Construction Ltd on telephone number 01225 705668.
Planning permission was granted in August 2019. Then we worked on detailed plans, designs and cost estimates with the project put out to tender early 2020. Unfortunately, the initial responses came in substantially over budget.We revisited some of the project costs, which took longer than anticipated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
We had originally hoped to add the community hub and other facilities in the same area. Our engagement with the planning authorities concluded that, while we could build a sports facility on an area prone to short-term flooding, this isn’t acceptable for those other purposes. We are still examining alternative ways of providing them, as well as other exciting improvements to Westmead Open Space.
The scouts are still able to safely access the hut during the construction period. The main construction site is in a corner of the Westmead Playing field and so the hut itself is not affected. We provided the Scout leader the relevant health and safety information at the start of the construction period.
The Chippenham Folk Festival have been using our land without charge and has been supported by Chippenham Borough Land Grants for many years.
The board of directors of Chippenham Folk Festival CIC and their members reluctantly decided, at their AGM, that due to the Covid-19 pandemic they would not be able to run the usual type of Chippenham Folk Festival in 2021. Several of the activities involve close contact and physical exertion and the directors felt that any COVID-19 restrictions were likely to still be in place.
The directors and staff are committed to returning to the normal style of festival in 2022 and ran a smaller, covid-safe event over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.
We have been long supporters of the Chippenham Folk Festival and we look forward to welcoming the Folk Festival back onto our land in future years when there will be additional facilities on site for the Festival-goers to enjoy during their stay.
Westmead Playing field, the car park at the end of Westmead Lane, Westmead Open Space and its car park all belong to Chippenham Borough Lands Charity. The Westmead Activity Centre is being built on our land.
Westmead Open Space
The Westmead Open Space car park can be found off Pewsham Way, Pewsham, Chippenham, SN15 3GF. It was extended in June 2020 to hold approximately 20 cars. It is owned and managed by Chippenham Borough Lands Charity who provide free use for the local community.
There are also nearby public car parks including Borough Parade, Emery Gate, Wood Lane and others.
There is allocated parking for disabled users and a widened gateway which allows for wheelchair and pushchair access to the Open Space. The Open Space has a crushed stone surfaced path which allows for a circular route around a section of the open parkland.
The Tree Sculpture Trail was the result of a competition held by Chippenham Borough Lands Charity for local Primary Schools in 2019. Each of the Chippenham Primary Schools had a winning entry for a wooden sculpture to be created from a design by a pupil. We were hoping for the wooden sculptures to be in position and the trail opened in May 2020 but the Covid-19 pandemic led to work being postponed. Work on the trail is now underway. The trail pathways have been created and some of the beautiful created sculptures are now already in situ on the site. Work will be continuing on the trail, including adding signage and benches, and we hope it will be completed during May. You can read updates on the trail in the latest news section of this website.