New park for London lets nothing go to waste
Northala fields is the largest new London park for a century. Arguably the most significant feature of the Northala Fields design is the construction of a new monumental landform on site, utilising substantial volumes of imported construction rubble from a pool of London-wide development projects such as Heathrow Terminal 5, White City and Wembley Stadium.
The controlled deposition on site has successfully delivered 7m Euro income, delivering the project at no cost to the tax payer. This approach to recycling has also significantly contributed to shrinking the ecological footprint of London by avoiding 165,000 lorry journeys several hundred miles long to outlying tips.
The new landform provides a solution to a number of site and development issues; mitigation of impact from the adjoining A40 (particularly noise, visual and air pollution), the provision of new recreation opportunities not currently available in the generally flat London Parks, and the creation of new ecological opportunities through new topography and soils.
The project also provides a major piece of ‘land art’ that is a landmark gateway for West London.
The dominant feature of the new landform are four conical mounds located along the Northern edge of the site. The highest point of each of the four cones is (from West to East) 20m, 25m, 30m and 35m above existing ground level, with slope gradients of 1 in 3.
A series of clearly defined key routes support recreational uses and activities of the new neighbourhood park. A network of primary and secondary paths connects with adjacent open spaces that make up the rest of the Countryside Park. New playground, meeting the needs of a variety of ages and users, is set along the central spine of the park along with a series of open meadows and semi-formal planting and seating areas for more contemplative activities. The central network of lakes is seen as much as an environmental resource as a recreational one by providing opportunities for fishing, as the only communal urban fishery in London, and for model boating.
Enhancing the ecological values of the site has also been a focus of the new design.
A range of new habitats was created:
Woodland both around the perimeter and within the site adds to the diversity of the existing woodland habitat.
Meadow and grassland types are the dominant vegetation in the development.
Water and wetland in the form of new watercourses provide opportunities for water and wetland flora and fauna that are not currently present on the site.