Brookfields Park is a 37 hectare landscape that was originally home to Manvers Main Colliery, one of the largest coking plants in the country, until 1988 when the mine was closed. The abandoned wasteland left behind lay disused until 2005 when it was redeveloped as a public park. The site today is a vibrant young landscape containing a range of open spaces with pockets of dense woodland, housing a variety of habitats.
Funding had been secured for investment into the park by the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership (DVLP) which had to be spent on the park before the following summer. At the start of the project an initial brief was established by the DVLP and Live Project team which was then interrogated and evolved to better suit the needs of Brookfields Park. Key features included:
- Decide how to spend funding before it expires
- Low maintenance requirement in the future for proposed works
- Consider and enhance environmental sustainability
- Define the identity of Brookfields Park
- Improve access to the park at main entrances
- Embrace natural growth on the site, rather than attempting to preserve the landscape in its current state
Throughout the project the team consulted local residents by conducting surveys in the park, meeting with local residents and visiting nearby schools to find out what they use the park for today and what they might want the park to look like in the future.
This vital information fed into the team’s design process culminating in a new vision for how Brookfields Park could evolve in the future. This was presented in the form of three time-dependent masterplans for the park, each of which developed the work proposed in the previous phase:
WEEKS – What could be achieved by the end of the six week live project? – a successful community event was held where flowers were planted, the bridge at the west entrance was revealed, temporary signs were installed and the east entrance was cleared.
MONTHS – What could be done with the funding available before next summer? – proposals included permanently remodelling the entrances, planting a community orchard and installing wayfinding benches
YEARS – What are some long term aspirations for the park? – Road Crossings to improve access to the park, Feature Landmark, new Public Events such as community cinema or festivals