We are currently engaged by landscape architects, TEP, on a lottery-funded project and develop the historic Victoria Park in Stafford.
The park is in the centre of Stafford adjacent to the train station. It is bisected by the River Sow and has a number of historic structures within.
Our focus has been twofold; one to focus on the heritage of the park, assess the condition of listed elements and identify packages of repair and conservation. We have also worked with TEP to identify design changes that will allow the park to be better connected with the town centre and increase its use and dwell times for leisure use.
A number of new elements have been designed including a new lightweight cafe structure that sits alongside a landscaped amphitheatre to encourage performance and events. The café sits in the prominent spot vacated by the relocated aviary and has been designed with a central core in order to offer 360° views of the park.
The proposed building is elevated one metre above the existing ground level in order to provide level access via a bridge from Mill Walk, and provide sufficient headroom to the footpath along the riverbank below the bridge.
A new smaller aviary is designed to sit with greater visibility to park visitors and has a powder coated steel mesh facade that reflects the patterns of the new cafe. Two retained magnolia trees have resulted in the aviary taking the form of two triangular shaped structures.
A single-storey education centre will provide training, classroom space and a working greenhouse for use by both park visitors, students, and maintenance staff. The centre will be timber clad to ensure that it sits comfortably within the park environment.
The scheme was awarded HLF Stage 2 funding in Spring 2016.
As part of the application to the HLF, in collaboration with TEP, Buttress produced a Conservation Plan for Victoria Park. The plan was used as a basis the project proposals for the park, and to inform future change and maintenance.
The Plan highlighted areas of significance that are/were essential to retain or enhance, and provides a framework to guide and advise future decision making, helping determine whether proposed changes are appropriate, and executed in manner to best conserve and enhance the heritage asset.
The Plan was also used to inform the development of design proposals. The structures deemed to be of low value or causing harm within the Conservation Plan, for example, were proposed to be removed and where structures have been removed to reinstate views across the park, these vistas are retained with the new built form.