Case Study 1 of 3: Bancroft Park
2 Plant Utilisation MR1212, Vegetation Analysis— Karl Barrett Student Number 30066539. 2009/2010. Myerscough College.2
Case Study 1:
George Bancroft Memorial Park, Blackpool
“In the face of considerable physical chal-
lenges, the objective was to integrate
separated communities either side of the
site.’’ Landscape Institute (2010)1
1. George Bancroft Park Description and Evaluation of the Site Conditions
Location Revoe Blackpool (Appendix 1, Maps and further In formation)
Altitude Blackpool, located at 53.8167 [latitude in decimal degrees], -3.05 [longitude in decimal degrees] at an
elevation/altitude of meters. The average elevation of Blackpool, is 1 meters. (Mongabay 2008)
Proximity to coast 1 mile (Google Maps 2010)
Type of scheme Public Green Space
Size 8 Ha (LI 2010)
Client: ReBlackpool (LI 2010)
Contract Value £11.5 million (LI 2010)
Completion Date May 2007
Contact Details firstname.lastname@example.org (LI 2010)
Awards Highly Commended 2009 Landscape Institute Awards Design over 5Ha (LI 2010)
Project Team Lead Consultant: AECOM Design and Planning (LI 2010)
Engineer: Blackpool Borough Council (LI 2010)
Lighting Consultants: Dpa Lighting Consultants QS: Gardiner and Theobald (LI 2010)
Art: Gordon Young Why Not Associates, Ian Vickers (LI 2010)
Contractors Contractor- Volker Stevin, Landscape contractor: English Landscapes
Picture (I) Landscape Institute, (2010). George Bancroft Park (phase 1). Accessed on 15/02/2010 via http://
A unique entrance into Blackpool from the M55 merging two once separated communities. The two
sculptures have a contemporary and modern edge whilst having a functional use as climbing walls
with qualified rock climbing instructors which in turn can reduce anti social behaviour in youth and
provide active community participation in a ward of significant social deprivation. (Kazmierczak et al
2004, UKC 2010, Blackpool Council 2008)
4 Plant Utilisation MR1212, Vegetation Analysis— Karl Barrett Student Number 30066539. 2009/2010. Myerscough College.4
Landscape Architectural aims and objectives
Bancroft Park is the newest public Green Space in Blackpool since the 1920’s Stanley Park. The
park itself from visual observations is in excellent condition but this is to be expected as the space
is less than five years old. (Landscape Institute 2010) The Architects involved in the park regarded
the site as physically challenging as up until the late 1980s with the task of replacing a large inac-
cessible car park where the park stands today. The space was occupied by railway sidings creat-
ing a gulf between two communities therefore the objective was to integrate the two communities
either side of the site. (Landscape Institute 2010)
The alteration intended to generate a community park full of activity and a unique entrance into
Blackpool from the M55 that would support both local and visitor needs through an amalgamation
of peaceful gardens and lawns with active themed play and all-weather sports areas. This included
strong landform and planting, exciting lighting effects, sculptural walls and two dramatic climbing
towers. (Visit Blackpool 2010. Landscape Institute 2010).
This picture is an overview Satellite image of the Bancroft Park site (Re Blackpool 2010)
Blackpool the word in itself conjures up really prominent pictures in my minds eye of the seaside
and generosity of abundant rainfall.Blackpool topography is composed from Permian and Triassic
overlain by thick deposits of glacial drift, blown sand, peat, alluvium and silt. Rocks consist of
gravel ridges and are best described as elongated whale-shaped hills formed by glacial actions
(Drumlins) The higher planes of Chorley and Leyland indicate that the underlying rocks have
emerged from this drift. (Cite)
2. Identification and Analysis of Planting Types
2.1 A summary of existing Vegetation
Pine trees are used North edge of the play area and Shrub planting used as a buffer between the
park and the housing, with meadows adjacent. Cite (Van naturalistic planting). Next to the ‘ocean
themed’ play area, tropical style planting has been used in an exciting and reviving colour scheme
example). Swathes of Phormium tenax has been used around the climbing walls. (Landscape In-
stitute 2010). See Appendix 3 for an in depth vegetation analysis – My Photographic Research,
Plant Identification and Analytical Commentary.
6 Plant Utilisation MR1212, Vegetation Analysis— Karl Barrett Student Number 30066539. 2009/2010. Myerscough College.6
Above picture - Feature street furniture uses granite with anti-skateboard detailing. Minimalist feel
planting includes, Contrasting colours, Lime is reviving, red is warm and draws the eye in, Anti
skateboard seats in circles promoting community, Nice beige colour floor brightens the place up and
is reflective, Grassy verge interactive and nice for picnics and relaxing, sunbathing, Inspirational
scheme to an area that was in desperate need of regeneration.
Picture left - The climbing walls themselves are
large slabs of black concrete which act as land-
marks, with contrasting red granite walls along-
side these areas. In combination with the climb-
ing walls, bouldering walls have been constructed
using a diverse assortment of rock types. Reflect-
ing on my prior youth offending work there were
some success rates in reducing anti social behav-
iour in the area through diversionary activities.
(Blackpool Council 2008). However through a re-
flective discussion with my tutor and student col-
league I identified that the park wasn’t used
enough and no evidence was found that their was
community participation in the parks design and
construction. Suggestions were made that
schemes could have run such as plant a tree scheme and other educational horticultural inclusive
‘These streets hold my childhood, your childhood. Revoe is
the living heart of the town, even though it’s a dump.’
Local Resident ‘Bloomfield Talks’ (Grennan 2009)
The enclosed quote6 was extracted from ‘Bloomfield Talks’ a community developed book given
out to the residents of Revoe, (my community/residence) where Bancroft Park is situated. The
resident refers to Revoe as a ‘dump’. In my own view this is partially true in one hand we have a
Landscape Institute awarded park full of colour, vibrancy and a positive paradox to Blackpool’s
Victorian style park but on the other hand we have a ward of significant social deprivation.
Significant efforts, (above picture) are being made to regenerate Blackpool and George Bancroft
Park is a fantastic platform in Horticulture, Social Development and Urban regeneration. Hope-
fully the development will inspire the minds of others as it has mine. Whether they are positive or
negative remarks regarding this it is all a platform for discussion which is the foundations of any
community development to be sought.
8 Plant Utilisation MR1212, Vegetation Analysis— Karl Barrett Student Number 30066539. 2009/2010. Myerscough College.8
You can see Blackpool Tower in the top right hand corner following a row of terraced houses that
have been given grants to make their properties more aesthetically pleasing, followed by a sea of
neat car parking next to Blackpool business park and football club, well lit for safety and an array of
plants that will be the focus of this papers vegetation analysis.
Unfortunately litter is quite problematic for Blackpool especially during the tourist season; this can be
illustrated through looking closely at the above picture where litter is wrapped round the stem of a
rose. However the area has been well maintained through visual observation as a local resident.
On a flip side the mulch used which is wood chippings is coming onto the pavement slightly that if
not maintained could become unsightly. A minor issue is the mulch coming on to the pavement and
this is from blackbirds turning over the woodchip for worms, so it is a simple job for the road
sweeper or community members to push the mulch back onto the soil bed.
Perhaps the planting could have been better although I take an optimistic stance that the area feels
safer and more vibrant therefore the positives well outweigh the negatives and this is what Black-
pool needs. It is proved green environments has an affect on the mental health of groups and indi-
viduals and I firmly argue that as an aspiring Landscape Architect it is very important to see the big-
ger picture of the interdependent relationships between man and the landscape.
With regards to the housing the paler colours to the far right of the colour spectrum are soft and
soothing and mix well with styles from Brighton and Devon, both seaside towns, however and this is
only an opinion the colours are a bit ‘hard’ on the eye ranging from a dark blue, to a coral and even
a grape purple colour, interestingly there is a flavour of rebelliousness with the two unpainted
houses and this to me is a perfect symbol of what the area is a clash of old and new, the past the
present and the future, social change and resistance.
All in all the entire Park has brought many immeasurable and measurable benefits to the community
and the area. As a whole Blackpool is feeling much safer and vibrant and believe it’s a positive step
Picture to left.
Bancroft Park playground in construction, (Re
2.1c Plant Identification
From the previous picture in the Analysis section, working from bottom left hand corner anti clock-
wise and then round the steel fence this essay identifies all the plants within the picture. I re-
turned in Winter 2010 and took pictures of the same bed to gain an insight of change and to see
the plants out of summer season.
‘All plant species have been chosen for their hardi-
ness to sea air and suitability for costal environ-
Landscape Institute (2010)
10 Plant Utilisation MR1212, Vegetation Analysis— Karl Barrett Student Number 30066539. 2009/2010. Myerscough College.10
Rosa rugosa ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’ (RHS 2006, EDAW 2010)
Euphorbia characias wulfenii (RHS 2006, EDAW 2010)
Pinus mugo ‘Mini mops’ (RHS 2006, EDAW 2010)
Rudbeckia niida ‘Herbestonne’ (RHS 2006, EDAW 2010)
12 Plant Utilisation MR1212, Vegetation Analysis— Karl Barrett Student Number 30066539. 2009/2010. Myerscough College.12
Cytisus x paecox ‘Albus (RHS 2006, EDAW 2010)
3. Description of existing maintenance
After speaking to one of the groundskeepers, (Personal Communication Bancroft Park 2010) they
kindly gave me an overview of maintenance and expenditure as follows:
Renewal of areas
Re-shaping of borders
14 Plant Utilisation MR1212, Vegetation Analysis— Karl Barrett Student Number 30066539. 2009/2010. Myerscough College.14
Lawn maintenance, i.e. scarify, spike or core, top dress, fertiliser.
Start mowing, if weather suitable
General clean up after winter
Scarify/spike/top dressing/fertilise lawns
Cut back/clear and tidy herbaceous borders
Tree and shrub planting
November and December
16 Plant Utilisation MR1212, Vegetation Analysis— Karl Barrett Student Number 30066539. 2009/2010. Myerscough College.16
November and December
How would you improve it on Plant Species?
LI accredited highly commended therefore would not change and am proud of such a great develop-
ment the plants were planted due to their adaptability to salt tolerance and a coastal strip Lancashire
climate. (Landscape Institute 2010)
How would you improve it on Aftercare?
During observation of the park as a resident and as a prior local community worker I believe that the
maintenance is actually very good and this has been over the last three years. It is only through
time we can really see if maintenance will be kept to a high standard although it is in Blackpool’s
best interests to upkeep the park. As part of my research for this essay I had an excellent face to
face meeting with Mark Scrivens Head of Parks and Green Environment, Blackpool Council whom
holds a Myerscough College Horticulture degree to his professional work informed me that some
trees planted were not hardened off for coastal climatic conditions and it was unrealistic to expect
mature trees to survive in this location especially because of ‘wind rock’ damaging the tree root sys-
tem. Large tree canopies resulted in transpiration water loss’ that result in the leaves looking brown
and unattractive. Transplanting large trees is always difficult and even when successful, trees take
some time to establish and look healthy. Unfortunately unhealthy trees are not an option due to the
instant impact look the Council wish to achieve because of a Tourism demand.
How would you improve it on Layout/design?
As explained previously in my analytical comments this is significant progress for Blackpool and its
important to remain positive and optimistic for a sustainable future, it could be argued that levelled
planting could have been put at a greater height and natural screens formed but on the other hand
we need to consider people’s safety which is paramount, low levelled planting, open spaces and
well lit areas all features that Bancroft Park provide.
therefore I believe the landscapes Architects vision is excellent and the park deserved the prestig-
ious LI award I can only perceive this piece of urban restructure as a positive step forward for our
local environment and a positive contribution to the community and its visitors.
(Personal Communication, Blackpool Council, Scrivens.M 2010)
My recommendations are more community participation through community development work
through the voluntary sector, an educational aspect to the park through labelling the plants so peo-
ple can learn about plant species and more horticultural incentives for groups at risk and also inter-
ested in the ethos of community, e.g. youth groups, elderly, mental health and people who would
like to make a positive contribution into their areas which in turn would help the community take
The most significant recommendation and piece of learning is to work with nature and not against it,
choose native plants conducive to the climatic conditions and soil and plant small trees suitable for
the climate that have excellent root systems that have been supplied in Air Space pots, (Horticulture
Week 2003) and can establish and grow. This may not be instant impact but will be worth it in the
mid to long term and substantially minimise the risks of plant and trees dying in turn reducing main-
tenance costs and enforcing sustainable green spaces.
18 Plant Utilisation MR1212, Vegetation Analysis— Karl Barrett Student Number 30066539. 2009/2010. Myerscough College.18
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