Case Studies

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Project Description

A new shared vision for this important urban park developed through engagement with all sides of the community. The park re-opened to the public in October 2015 to widespread acclaim with the focus firmly on the shared future ahead and not its troubled past.

In the 19th Century, the 6th Duke of Manchester bequeathed his land to the ‘People of Portadown’ hence the name People’s Park. Historically thousands each week would enjoy the wide range of activities on offer. The emerging troubles led to the demise of the park in the 1970’s due to it being location at a main interface area. The park borders the route of the Drumcree parade, which at its height drew worldwide attention. Decades of conflict and under investment led to the decline of the park. Many on Council had the memory of happier shared times and so began the work of articulating a vision for the park with funding and the support of all sides of the community.

Regenerating the park took place through a project called: SPACE: Shared Process and Community Engagement project. This included consultations with schools, youth organisations, community groups, resident’s associations, local businesses and a range of statutory agencies. The ‘Peace Building’ element of the programme engaged with thousands of participants through the delivery a series of creative youth projects, community projects, sports and physical activity projects. And as part of the launch, a specially commissioned music video with a poignant message of the town ‘Moving On’ was produced with the input of over 40 organisations including choirs, orchestras and bands.

Works to the park include the construction of an Amphitheatre, play areas, a pavilion building, synthetic pitches, tranquil gardens, upgrade to the existing pitches, improvements to pedestrian connectivity, restoration of the lake and promotion of environmental activities for schools and improving access from the town centre.

An explosion of new users have since re-claimed the park.  From October 2015 – December 2015 there were over 120,000 visits recorded to the park with an increase of over 40% from non-traditional users.  People who believed they would never be able to set foot in the park now regularly visit with their families.

Learning Outcomes

  • Visionary: despite a highly challenging social and political context, the Council envisaged and delivered a comprehensive physical and psychological transformation of the park.
  • Collaborative: only by working very closely with a wide range of users, including the communities on either side of the ‘interface’, could such a transformation be made possible.
  • Contextual: Each new approach to the park was carefully planned and designed in relation to the surrounding urban area.
  • Responsible: Detailed analysis of existing hydrology informed the park’s floodplain design resulting in increased volumes of floodwater held in areas on site, ensuring flood problems were considerably reduced further down stream. An 'excellent’ CEEQUAL rating was achieved.
  • Accessible: Several new access gates and pedestrian footpaths were introduced around the park, linking existing and new neighbourhoods, joining communities that have previously been separated.
  • Hospitable: Boundary treatments were designed to maximise visual passive surveillance. New spaces cater for passive and active use. The reassuring presence of a park ranger also provides further animation.
  • Vibrant and Diverse: a range of new uses have been introduced catering for a range of sports to the park and a busy events calendar established
  • Crafted: design quality has ensured careful consideration of historic features and brought about the introduction of previously lost features. The restoration of an old lake, previously backfilled has created a new space for educational and wildlife benefits. High quality materials are also used throughout the park.
  • Viable: The park has a dynamic range of spaces working independently and as a whole, depending on the event or activity. The park is also designed to allow for the extension of popular activities in the future.
  • Enduring: The local community have been closely involved in the rejuvenation of this park, increasing a sense of ownership and pride. Learning about the history and biodiversity of the site has also featured prominently.

Consultation Contact

The Paul Hogarth Company

David Watkiss
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
0044 2890 73660