Client:  Redditch Borough Council/Environment Agency

This major project has been undertaken on behalf of Redditch Borough Council and has recently been completed. The work undertaken has been to produce a comprehensive strategic framework for River Arrow Country Park, in order to guide the future development and maintenance of the Park. The commission included preparing a £2.5M bid to the Heritage Lottery fund, as well as supporting other planned bids to funders such as Sport England and the Football Foundation.

The park follows four miles of the 364ha River Arrow and divides the new town of Redditch in two. As well as being the most important resource for informal recreation in the borough, it contains two Scheduled Ancient Monuments, a local nature reserve, two visitor centres, a museum and extensive sports facilities, including national-standard BMX and Skate Park facilities. The Country Park’s landscape is the most important part of the borough in terms of both historic and natural heritage, telling the story of Redditch from pre-Roman times, through the early industrial revolution to the establishment of the new Town and beyond.

The work has been carried out by a multi-disciplinary team managed by NW Environmental, comprising several of our associates:

Landscape Matters – landscape masterplanning
Moss, Naylor Young – historic heritage
Andy Maw Design – graphic design and visualisations
CSB Architects –designs for visitor centres and sports facilities
Horritt Consulting – hydrologists
Rita Wyatt – visitor surveys

Aspects of the work have included:

  • Two workshops bringing together the clients and other stakeholders, resulting in the re-establishment of the Country Park User Group.
  • Presentation to Councillors
  • Presentations and meetings with a large range of stakeholders including the County Council, Community Forum, Government Agencies and third sector organisations.
  • Face to face surveys with 200 local residents and park users.

The Strategic Framework is based around a park-wide masterplan with detailed plans and visualisations for key elements within the overall framework, including provisional costings and extensive supporting evidence. Key elements of the framework include:

  • Identifying a single identity across the Country Park, with clearer zoning of activities and better connectivity within the park and into surrounding areas.
  • Refurbishment of the main visitor centre and Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre, with visualisations.
  • Improvements to and new football changing rooms and establishment of a wheeled sports hub, with architectural designs.
  • Improving the network of paths and trails and enhanced segregation between different user groups (walkers, riders, cyclists).
  • Improvements to access by visitors using all relevant modes of travel
  • A strategy for improving education and interpretation, including making better use of new technologies.
  • Ways of broadening the site’s user base and increasing community engagement and volunteering.
  • Refurbishment and improvement of sports facilities across the Country Park
  • Detailed solutions to address safety, heritage conservation and fish passage issues at each of six weirs.
  • Improving the setting and interpretation of historic assets across the Country Park.
  • Nature conservation management proposals, including the creation of new wetlands and meadows.
  • Options for new governance arrangements
  • Review against Green Flag and Accredited Country Park criteria
  • SWOT and Risk Analyses of the park
Visualisation for Bordesley Abbey  and Forge Mill Scheduled Ancient Monuments, Arrow Valley Country Park realised for us by Andy Maw Design

AVCP Sketches Final North