27 February 2015

Exemplar Sustainable Park Wins Wavin AquaCell Competition

Betteshanger Sustainable Parks has been awarded Wavin’s Ecobuild AquaCell competition 2015. This is a magnificent endorsement of a £40 million highly ambitious project designed to regenerate a part of East Kent that has suffered a series of economic setbacks commencing with closure of Betteshanger, the last Kent coalfield, in 1989. The project will create 1,000 jobs thus giving the long-awaited and much needed socio-economic boost to the entire area. 

The project has won 200 of Wavin’s AquaCell modular stormwater management units, plus a £10,000 cheque towards groundworks and installation as well as complementary systems. The 200 AquaCell units have been used to construct the Water Theatre at Ecobuild, which is sponsored by Wavin. By presenting the units to Betteshanger Sustainable Parks, Wavin is not only supporting a worthy community project but also ensuring re-use of its stand – a policy reinforced by Ecobuild organisers UBM Built Environment.

Designed by Studio Evans Lane Architects, the Betteshanger Sustainable Parks project is an ambitious scheme for client The Hadlow Group. Four years in the planning, the £40 million scheme will be built by main contractor Willmott Dixon and will see the regeneration of a former coal mining region of East Kent into an exemplar project that benefits local business and local communities. Once completed, it will be home to a green technologies sustainable business and commerce park, supported by world class research, development and education links. 

The scheme also includes a new national country park with a Visitor Centre which has been awarded Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) totalling £215,000. The application for HLF was for a two-stage development and delivery process.  The initial £215,000 first round grant will support development of the Kent Mining Heritage Museum including recruitment of the design team and other key posts. It is anticipated that the country park will attract in excess of 100,000 visitors a year.

Richard Morsley, Director Betteshanger Sustainable Parks, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted with this award. The project will make a genuine long-term difference to the area and recognition of our focus on sustainable building is a wonderful endorsement. We are grateful to Wavin for recognising and rewarding what we are doing’.

The scheme has secured over £6 million of public funds to deliver the first phase of the development, with a further £6 million of funding awaiting their outcomes.  Work is due to start on site in spring 2015 with the initial development including the Visitor, Heritage and Energy complex. In addition, phase one will also include Betteshanger Sustainable Education Centre which will deliver world-class research and development, supported with education, in sustainable food production, climate change, agro ecology and agronomy production.

“We are delighted to announce that Betteshanger Sustainable Parks has won the Ecobuild AquaCell competition,” commented Mike Shaw, Head of Marketing at Wavin UK. “The project demonstrates not only best practice in terms of sustainable design but also ambition to help drive economic growth in East Kent through business development and research whilst providing facilities for the local community. We were also impressed with the project team’s desire to create a destination that recognises the importance that coal mining has had in the region whilst developing it so that it offers national appeal. The fact that in addition, the scheme places equal importance on environmental impact and community engagement made this project a stand out winner.”

AquaCell is a tried and tested modular technique for managing excessive rainfall and is proven as one of the most effective ways of recharging local groundwater. Available in a range of four units and strengths which includes AquaCell Eco, Core, Prime and Plus, these can be mixed and matched to create the optimum installation for every application.

Alison Jackson, Group Director of Sustainability, Ecobuild said: “As the organiser of the world’s marketplace for green building, sustainability sits at the core of our business. Building the water seminar theatre from Wavin’s AquaCell modular stormwater management units will drastically reduce the volume of materials used and resultant waste which in turn helps us towards achieving IS020121; the event industry sustainability standard for the second year running. This strategic partnership further reinforces the need for resilience against extreme weather in the UK and this theme will be echoed throughout Ecobuild, from our expert conference and seminar contributors, to innovative technologies and solutions.”

The competition further reinforces Wavin’s position as leaders in stormwater management and true pioneers in the delivery of low environmental impact solutions.