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26 March 2012

Mott MacDonald to restore seafront gardens in Felixstowe, UK

Mott MacDonald has been appointed by Suffolk Coastal District Council on a £2.8 million project to restore and enhance 1km of seafront gardens in Felixstowe, UK. This is a landscape architecture lead project with the consultancy providing a wide range of complementary engineering services, including civil, structural, geotechnical, mechanical and electrical, as well as CDMC, ecology and hydrology inputs.

The scheme has various funding streams, primarily the Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £2.2million but also from the Local Authority Business Growth Incentive Scheme, Haven Gateway Partnership and Suffolk Coastal District Council. One of the contractual requirements to obtain a Heritage Lottery Fund grant is to aim to achieve Green Flag status in the gardens. This involves providing a management plan to ensure the longevity of the gardens for future generations.

The site is south east facing and has an array of differing microclimates due to its undulating topography and mature planting design. With a brisk sea breeze through most of the year the proposed planting designs will need to include hardy ornamentals, providing colour throughout the seasons. There will be the opportunity for various styles of planting including the regeneration of the Victorian beds, rose gardens, woodland walks through the terraces, structural shrub planting and edible seashore planting to engage with the local community.

In recent years only general maintenance has been carried out on the gardens, with no large design changes and improvements undertaken for at least thirty years. Due to this, the gardens have visually deteriorated and degraded in some places with parts of the planting over maturing. Mott MacDonald will provide site wide improvements on the scheme through hard and soft detailed landscaping incorporating the renovation of two pedestrian shelters and constructing a new one in the Town Hall gardens.

Mott MacDonald’s project manager Shaun Ruffles said: “Social inclusion will be the backbone of our design. We want to encourage more people to use the gardens throughout the year for a wide range of activities, such as walking, observing wildlife and exercise. We also want to provide educational aspects to the gardens for both children and adults, which will be achieved through a heritage trail, highlighting historical events and changes to the gardens as users pass through them.”

“The economic viability of the gardens is also vital as they need to be maintained for future generations. It is hoped that the gardens can be used for events or activities which will provide income to help towards their future upkeep,” Shaun added.

Mott MacDonald’s commission is due to be completed Spring 2014.

The consultancy also designed the £10 million Central Felixstowe Coast Protection Scheme, which runs along the beach in front of the gardens. This is the largest coastal defence work being undertaken in the UK at present and will protect the town from flooding over the next 100 years, safeguarding 1500 homes, local businesses and other key facilities. It is due to be completed in April this year.


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