The £2million renovation of Wicksteed Park has brought the park back to the original vision of its founder.
Charles Wicksteed’s vision was to create a beautiful landscape where children could play freely, and people from across the community could come to relax and enjoy the park’s many attractions.
This project has fully restored the lake, one of the park’s key historic features, ensuring that it can be enjoyed by visitors for many generations to come.Oliver Wicksteed, chairman of the Wicksteed Charitable Trust and Charles Wicksteed’s great grandson, said [of the park’s renovation]: “This is fantastic news for the park, our visitors, and the staff who put so much hard work into making it such a popular attraction.
“The park operates as a charity and the Trust works very hard to maintain Charles Wicksteed’s vision of sustainability, encouraging families to lead a healthy, energetic lifestyle and re-engaging young people with the outdoors and adventure.
“I believe that these improvements and additions would be just the sort of things Charles Wicksteed would have carried out if he were still alive today.”
Improving access around the park
As part of the renovation, over 4,500 linear metres of JB CitiDeck® was specified by LDA Design. This decking was used to form the decking for the bridges, floating pontoon, a pier and a boardwalk. These areas had been designed as part of the park’s renovation to encourage visitors to the lesser used areas of the park. Previously visitors had chosen to stay in the main park.
The creation of the boardwalk and pontoon, by Walcon Marine, enables access to the far area of the lake. The footbridge, created by CTS Bridges, provides a link to the arboretum.
JB CitiDeck® was initially developed by John Brash for the Olympic park. The castellations of traditional anti-slip decking can make the ride uneven and uncomfortable for wheelchair users, and the high level of grip can make change in surface difficult for some pedestrians, in particular the less able.
JB CitiDeck® is a smooth deck board with a less abrasive grit. This gives a more comfortable surface for urban footwear, wheelchair users and pushchairs, whilst still exceeding the slip resistance requirements of the HSE guidelines.
“I just wish people knew just how uncomfortable it feels to travel over the grooved deck boards” says Margaret Hickesh who is now Access and Inclusion Officer at Network Rail. “The new CitiDeck board developed for the (Olympic) park was so much better, not just for wheelchair users, but for a wide range of visitors, from children to the elderly and less able. It wasn’t just the grooves in the deck board that were a problem; the aggregate used was very coarse and could present a trip hazard when moving from one surface to another. It was important that the decking solution didn’t become a trip hazard for children or those with mobility impairments.”
Delivering the project
As Wicksteed Park is mainly a seasonal venue, work was scheduled from the end of September 2013 to minimise impact on visitors.
Despite a very challenging programme, limited vehicular access and the wettest winter on record, the project went well.
Nigel Aves of main contractor Jackson Framework comments: “JB CitiDeck® was specified on the project by the architect, who has used it previously. We ordered the material cut to length to save time on site. All fixing, screws and required end-coat was also supplied. John Brash decking is key to linking the main park to the lesser used areas. We’re very happy with the result.”
The specification of JB CitiDeck® at Wicksteed Park provides improved access, especially for the less able, to the park and its wildlife. A spokesman for Wicksteed park comments “The pontoon is already being extensively used and has become a popular feature of the park.”
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