Gedling Visitors Centre
The project progressed at speed. The entire project team were focussed and worked exceptionally well towards the common goal of opening the building to the public to tight timescales.
Dave Wakelin | Gedling Borough Council
Gedling Borough Council had a bold plan to develop a former colliery into a country park. To improve the facilities for visitors to enjoy the 240 acres of open space and wildlife, G F Tomlinson were tasked to design and construct a new visitors centre and children’s play area.
To attract a greater footfall to Gedling Country Park which opened in 2015, Gedling Borough Council required additional facilities that would enhance visitors experience, increase repeat visits and create an additional revenue stream that could be invested back into the country park.
A vital component of this project was local community engagement, to ensure that the facilities met visitor’s requirements whilst having sustainable benefits and reduced running costs. Local residents were asked for their input into the proposed centre. Residents requested an outdoor seating area and educational displays of the mining heritage of the site to be housed within the centre.
Building on the site of a former colliery meant that there were some adverse conditions that needed to be dealt with carefully with specialist expertise.
As the park was accessible during the construction works an extensive stakeholder engagement plan was implemented by GF Tomlinson to understand requirements and forge collaborative working with Gedling Borough Council with a delivery strategy that minimised the impact of the works and ensured that the country park remained fully operational throughout.
The challenges were met via:
• Programmed works and delivery times scheduled outside of peak times
• Segregation of construction works from members of the public
• Strict traffic management plan
• Extended working hours
Located on the site of a former colliery, the visitor centre, named 1899 in honour of the year the colliery opened, was inspired by work undertaken by students from Nottingham Trent University who worked with Councillor John Clarke and the council’s Parks Team on potential design ideas.
To meet the sustainable and reduced running costs requirements, 24 300kw solar panels were installed to generate 7.2kwph.
As the centrepiece of the masterplan for the park, the visitor centre provides a hub for the local community with a modern café, outdoor seating area and a memorial sensory garden whilst celebrating the area’s local mining heritage by displaying a diverse collection of memorabilia and hosting a range of community events.
The visitor centre is attracting new and repeat visitors to the Gedling Country Park which in turn is bringing a revenue stream which is being reinvested into the park.
Local labour within 20 miles
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