Pier Hill Southend-on-Sea

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  • Large scale Government-funded urban regeneration project.
  • Landscape Architecture lead on a multi-disciplinary project team.
  • Linking seafront to town by creating a new public park.
  • Solution recognised by RIBA and Institute of Civil Engineers.

This was a major project with central Government funding to support regeneration through urban design.  The objective was to link Southend’s seafront and pier to the town centre by turning a disused site in a prominent location into a public park.  Although the seafront was popular with large numbers of visitors, businesses in the town centre did not benefit, effectively being cut off by the hill.  Although the site was in a conservation area it was largely disused being more of a barrier than an attraction to the town.  The significant level change from the seafront to the town caused by the sloping cliff also created problems of access and we needed to encourage people up the hill and into the town.

We were part of a project design team led by Stanley Bragg Architects.  The team developed the overall solution following significant public consultation with local shops and hoteliers.  The focus was to improve access to the town, with Wynne-Williams Associates taking the lead on the landscape design aspects.

A focal point of the development was a lift tower and glass bridge providing access to the local shops.  We improved access up the hill with a sloping path and improved steps accompanied by paving. We also specified a computer-controlled pavement fountain, high quality street furniture and dedicated seaside planting to make the park itself a pleasant place to be and to walk through.  As an additional draw a stylish and fun art installation was commissioned for the top of the cliff using an environmentally activated light wall.

The success of the scheme can be seen by anyone visiting Southend-on-Sea, with the link between the seafront and the town now obvious for all visitors.  The scheme was commended in the RIBA Architecture for Tourism Awards and won the Institute of Civil Engineers Merit Award.

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