urbanists

Working progress on school landscape project

On site engineering works have begun at the construction of Ysgol Parc Y Tywyn, Burry Port where we are the landscape architects. This follows the completion of ground remediation works and discharge of pre-commencement planning conditions.

The brownfield site sits adjacent to the Wales Coastal Park, and the ‘passivhaus’ structure, designed by Architype (alongside WSP), will provide pupils of the Welsh-medium primary school with a positive and pleasant working environment. The building will also provide staff with a contemporary, energy efficient structure and a state of the art teaching facilities.

The works at Ysgol Parc Y Tywyn are being completed alongside the development of Ysgol Trimsaran (where were are also the planning consultants), which is now at an advanced stage of construction. The timber frame structure at Burry Port is up and Dawnus hope to have the structure weathertight by mid-February.

The site Manager, Rob Downs (Dawnus), kindly showed me around the new building while on site to discuss some of the external works features. At this early stage, the benefits of the light and spacious classrooms can be felt along with the generous communal core, which doubles up as a hub space for pupils.

The new building is also set within the falling topography of site, to mange compliant access to the school and associated facilities. The framework for the primary approaches to the building are now in place, in accordance with our design and the benefits of the path orientations and level management can be felt as you approach the main entrance.

Normal service continues within the existing school, which occupies the southern portion of the site, but with the external infrastructure taking shape, the pupils will be in their new School for September 2017. Following occupation of the new building, phase two will see completion of external works.

by James O’Donnell (Senior Landscape Architect)

Connectivity the key to a successful City region

The publication of today's report by an alliance of five cities - Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield should be a wake up call to other areas of the UK.

The recognition that inter-city region connectivity is key to forming a successful northern economic counterbalance to London demonstrates the maturity of the City Region psyche across the north. It also demonstrates an evolution of Prescott's 'Northern Way' - a sinuous economic link across the M62. It is significant that the rail zeitgeist has infused the latest incarnation of Northern urban connectivity. However, what is really telling is that whilst they may not have solved all of their internal challenges, the leadership of these cities have reached a capacity at which they can collectively strategise for a £15bn investment from the Chancellor, much of which is about improving connectivity.

Image courtesy of BBC

Image courtesy of BBC

This is particularly relevant to Cardiff but also potentially relevant when one looks at Cardiff, and Newport (and potentially Bristol) together. For example, the urban areas around the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal (which include Widnes, Runcorn, Salford, Warrington, Liverpool and Manchester) are already collaborating to deliver an ambitious connectivity, open space and economic development agenda under the banner of Atlantic Gateway.

The need for the very highest levels of frequency, quality and integration across regional public transport is something that the Cardiff Capital City Region Metro will hopefully address. The importance of today's publication by other cities with whom Cardiff should be competing immediately raises the stakes for the Metro in South East Wales. If the region isn't able to deliver the kind of system that globally relevant city regions now require as standard then Cardiff, Newport and the Valleys will see other regions of Britain accelerate into the economic distance.