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Gillespies completes Southend square redesign

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Urban designers Gillespies has unwrapped its ‘extensive refurbishment’ of Warrior Square gardens in Southend

Described as ‘a cornerstone of the town’s revival’ and a ‘recompostion of the familiar elements of an English Garden Square’, the £1.5million scheme features new lawns, planting, lighting and new seating.

Warrior Square, southend - seating designs

Source: Warrior Square, southend - seating designs

Warrior Square, southend - seating designs

Steve Wardell, managing partner at Gillespies said:

‘Attractive public spaces are central to people’s quality-of-life and the perception of a town. Not just something nice to look at, they help provide vital and stimulating environments that measure the success of a place, supporting local businesses and attracting more visitors and tourists. As a green space, the contribution to outdoor activity and ecology is a key sustainable driver in any landscape design.

 As with many town squares, Warrior Square Gardens had suffered decline prior to their refurbishment.  The space had become an unwelcoming haven for anti-social behaviour.  When embarking on the redesign, we worked closely with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to recreate the Gardens as a celebration of nature in the town – a retreat from urban life. 

”We were keen to retain the best elements of the original gardens created in 1880’s, including the historic trees, while updating it to appeal to modern lifestyles.

 The Gardens offer an urban escape. People can engage and immerse themselves in natural elements – from the scent and colour of the planting to the grandeur and majesty of the mature trees.

 In keeping with the square’s late-Victorian origins, we also sought to capture the essence of Southend’s spectacle and promenade – so the edge of the Gardens offers areas for street performers and gathering whilst at its heart there is a simple and flexible open lawn.

Project data:

Architect  (Public realm and landscape): Gillespies
Location: Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK
Type of Project: Urban Park
Structural Engineers: JMP
Project Architect: Gillespies
Architects of café building: Magma
M&E consultant: Royal Haskoning
Quantity surveyor: Northcroft
Planning supervisor: Urban Practitioners
Lighting consultant: Pinniger and Partners
Main contractor: Jackson Civil Engineering
Selected subcontractors and suppliers: Planting design: Growth Industry CDM / Sustainability: ENTEC Access review: David Bonnett Associates Soft Landscape Contractor: Southend-on-Sea Borough Council (planting beds) Client: Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Renaissance Southend Funding: HCA
Total cost: £1.5 million
Tender date: April 2010
Start on site date: June 2010
Contract duration: 11 months
Annual co2 emissions: (na)

Southend’s residents and tourists now have an invitation to walk in the middle of a traditional English floral border, and to follow in the footsteps of past generations as they stroll along the gardens’ limewalk beneath a canopy of historic lime trees.”

The new design recreates this key public space in Southend as a new destination in its own right, and enhances the appeal of the town’s distinctive identity.

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