“We have every reason to expect that this exemplar project will spearhead further regeneration in the area and set the standards to be followed in the future.”
– The Design Commission for Wales
Project: Drift Park
Year of Completion: 2007
Budget: £1 Million
Client: West Lancashire District Council
Project Team: BCA Landscape & Smiling Wolf
Awards: Landscape Institute Award 2008, RTPI Award 2008, West Lancashire Design Award 2009
This multi award winning seafront park was inspired by the meeting of coastal processes and the interventions used to control them and celebrates the fascinating heritage of Rhyl in the form of a ‘beachcombing’ artwork experience.
Unique detail design features, scattered through the scheme like flotsam on the beach, celebrate Rhyl events and characters – “Postcards from Rhyl” chosen with the local history group are printed on tiles, fish faces designed by a nearby school spout water jets and marks are carved in the concrete, like someone has drawn with a stick in the sand.
The new paddling pool, play area and mini golf have become popular with both local people and visitors to Rhyl. The amphitheatre and surrounding gardens provide a place to picnic and sunbathe with views across the beach and out to sea.
“It was not architecture that was needed to regenerate the sea front: that could come later. They needed someone who knew how to make thoughtful marks on the land. It needed a sensibility to understand the forms of the sand and the fauna and flora of the seaside – a team who would drink in the knowledge of the local historians about this once remarkable sea-front, and engage businesses and politicians and local schoolchildren, so that all ages and communities could feel a sense of ownership. All this is included in BCA Landscape’s wonderful mark-making on new land forms at Rhyl’s new west promenade.” Tom Leitener RSAW – Touchstone
The Future: Increased investment in regeneration and development is obvious by merely walking the Park. The adjacent buildings on West Parade are now being developed, some being conserved and some demolished making way for new contemporary buildings and facilities. This phenomenon is also happening to other areas of the town most notable being “Ocean Plaza” on the old fairground site (private sector, £85m), the physical infrastructure improvements at the Foryd Harbour (£1.4m), and the conversion of run down hotels into quality apartments. The overall regeneration work has brought about a perceived change in the town’s future.