Client: London Borough of Hounslow
Duration: 12 months
Landscape Architect: Churchman Associates
Heston Park dates back to the 1930’s and is located south of the A4 motorway, and just west of Heston town centre itself. Prior to beginning the project, the site is was a large open expanse of grass offering no play or leisure to the local community.
Improvements to the Park facilitate links to the new leisure centre development to the south and includes all three major existing entrances.
The scheme also includes proposals for a major upgrade to the existing ball courts which now gives 3rd generation sports facilities.
Improvements to the park were subdivided into the following categories:
While there was an existing playground, the new works introduced a natural play trail around a large part of the perimeter of the park. This used land forms, sculptures, timber, stone and planting to encourage children to explore and experience adventurous play in a natural setting.
Active recreation and sports
Diversifying the facilities for active leisure was felt to be important with the emphasis on casual rather than professional games. The improvements included:
○ Refurbishment of the existing cricket wicket with a durable synthetic grass wicket
○ Permanent table tennis tables
○ A ‘trim-trail’ and jogging track with distance markers and activity stations and soft but durable running surface
There were four mixed use tennis courts located on the south edge of the park of which the playing surfaces, equipment and fencing were extremely run-down and in need of replacement. Blakedown extended these further into what was the old bowling green and to improve the range of sports catered for. Half of this new area was resurfaced as multi-use hard courts (MUGA’s) providing for basketball, netball and tennis. Additionally, two further batting nets for cricket practice were installed to the west of these. The remainder of the area was used to create a high specification all-weather five-aside pitches with an artificial turf playing surface. All of the courts have had their fencing replaced, and the five-a-side football pitches can be floodlit for evening use.
Social and informal recreation
Existing park furniture had suffered from wear and tear and vandalism, being mis-matched and in poor condition. Replacement furniture was made to be durable and coherent with the rest of the scheme. Interventions also created more social and informal seating areas, providing a mix of individual seats and stools, as well as picnic tables. Other items included litter and recycling bins, bollards and signage.
Environmental quality & planting
The quality of the entrances to the park, the hard and soft landscape materials, lighting and signage play in important part in creating a safe and welcoming environment. Improvements were made to all the existing entrances, particularly the main entrance and avenue off New Heston Road. Heston Park is located behind various other buildings and sites, and is largely invisible to passers-by. Improvements in this area substantially upgrade the main entrance with new signage, lighting, street furniture and planting to create a welcoming threshold to the park.