Design team selected to lead park’s £18.8m transformation

Barnet Council is one step closer to beginning work on the £18.8million transformation of one of its largest parks after appointing a design team to lead the project.

Ove Arup & Partners Ltd was chosen to head up the regeneration of West Hendon Playing Field after winning a prestigious design contest by the London Borough of Barnet in partnership with the Landscape Institute.

Arup was chosen out of 19 initial entries by a team of highly qualified judges, reaching stage two of the contest with fellow finalists LDA Design and Southern Green. Final designs were entered in February before Arup was chosen as the overall winner.

Councillor Ross Houston, Chair of the Housing and Growth Committee, said: “This is a beautiful and vast green space, and we want to make the most of it. We will work with Arup and our residents to shape the proposals and make sure that they meet the needs of everyone in the Barnet borough.”

Park redevelopment plans include new tennis courts, 3G artificial turf pitches, a high ropes course, bowling green, multi-use games area, outdoor gym, play area, skate park and more. Proposals for the new-look destination will be based on Garden City principles, showcasing how green infrastructure can support outdoor sport and mental health and wellbeing.

Councillor Alan Schneiderman, Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Arup as partners. The council is committed to caring for people, our places, and the planet. Arup share our values and our commitment to sustainable development, and we can’t wait to see how they are able to transform West Hendon Playing Fields.  Our new-look park will be a great place to visit for people of all ages, as well as helping wildlife benefit from better biodiversity.”

The transformation of West Hendon Playing Field is expected to begin in late 2024 after a planning application is submitted by Arup in early 2024. It will take around two years to complete.

A new Sports Pavilion and Community Hub will be created by Tate + Co architects under Arup’s plans, housing a café, indoor climbing, activity studio, nursery, soft play, community rooms, changing rooms and toilets.

Pedestrian and cycle routes around the park will be improved to encourage more people to take up eco-friendly ‘active travel’ and leave their cars at home. Active travel services in the park are envisaged to include e-scooter hire, and bicycle parking, charging and repair.

Emily Woodason, project lead at Arup said: “Our landscape led team is excited to collaborate with Barnet Council and stakeholders to deliver a destination park with community and nature at its heart. Our integrated-systems approach, seeks to meet the needs of communities, strengthen quality of life, and achieve sustainability outcomes.”

Sue Morgan, Chief Executive at the Landscape Institute said: “Congratulations to Arup for being appointed to lead the regeneration of West Hendon Playing Field from its current form to an exemplary destination park for the local community. The sustainable development will connect people, place, and nature, supporting health and well-being and promoting biodiversity. Creating a transformational green space that will enhance the environment for the public benefit. Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do at the Landscape Institute, and partnering with Barnet Council to lead this design competition demonstrates the benefits of this process for creative procurement, innovation, and design quality.”

The regeneration of West Hendon Playing Field is part of a wider investment in Barnet’s parks of more than £30million.