LDA Design and Gillespies will be under scrutiny this month as the public gets a say in which design will win the bid. Next Monday (26 October) the consultation on the plans will close and the Burgess Park project board will decide which firm will bring the run-down park back to life.
Former Landscape Institute president Nigel Thorne, who has been involved in the consultation, told HW he was excited about the future of the park, which was awarded £2m by mayor of London Boris Johnson in his Priority Parks programme. The Aylesbury New Deal for Communities gave an additional £4m of funding.
"It will be one of the greatest facilities in south London," said Thorne. "It has to be — it is 46ha of wonderful space."
The park was created in the aftermath of World War Two to help transform areas affected by the Blitz. Since then it has become disjointed, which prompted the former parks manager Jon Sheaff to lobby for its improvement.
"The £6m of funding is the first stage, but as long as it's invested wisely then longer-term it will be easier to obtain additional funding, because everyone will see it is good value for money," Thorne added.
The Gillespies design includes a public square, visitor centre, lake boardwalk and separate dogs-only enclosures, with a proposed ban on dogs being allowed to run free.
The LDA Design plans reflect the post-industrial context of the park through the use of steel, concrete and timber. The plans include landforms, the removal of redundant roads and an improved lake.
More than 100 firms expressed an interest in the project, of which 25 submitted a formal tender to undertake the work.
LDA Design partner Andrew Harland said: "We believe passionately in the importance of creating parks for people and would relish the opportunity of working with the local community to regenerate the park and make it a beautiful and lively 21st-century park."
Gillespies lead designer Stephen Richards added: "Burgess Park is a vital space for the community of Southwark and its revitalisation will make an enormous difference to the area."
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