The Atkins design team consisted of landscape architects and coastal engineers who collaborated to create something that would be robust as well as beautiful and easy to construct. The landscape architects played a leading role determining the shape, colour, texture and width of the wall, including steps and ramp access features, street furniture, surfacing and lighting, ensuring correct flood level heights were achieved. The engineers focus was on the structural integrity of the solution. We also worked closely with our contractor partner and client to ensure cost and buildability were integrated into the solution. The wall therefore combines artistry and engineering with around 30 wall openings and several “up and over” permanent access points, embellished with motifs reflecting local idiosyncrasies. New planting, surfacing, lighting, play areas and seating enhance the promenade for all users. Materials were chosen to withstand the harshest of environmental conditions with storms and high public use, including part of a national cycle trail, with asphalt and reinforced concrete, re using blast furnace slag and marine grade stainless steel being used.
The sloped profile of the wall gives the impression of a wider promenade with elegant outlines reflecting the local 1930’s architecture. A warm ivory colour replaces the grey concrete that schemes like this can often be associated with. The wall has a smooth face, encouraging human contact, personifying what is essentially a huge concrete structure, making it less liable to abuse. The idea was to capture and complement, not to compete with the beauty of the bay.
A key part of the vision was to improve safety and access. Our design allows for pedestrians and vehicles with flush and ramped solutions providing inclusive access for all ages and abilities. Access points were highlighted visually to encourage use, with side walls sloped to mirror the distant fells and relevant patterns and names making them more memorable. Sustainability is at the core of the design with 30% of the wall being repaired with an innovative solution leading to 5,000m3 of concrete demolition, disposal and replacement avoided. The new promenade has also attracted cyclists, the elderly and walkers to engage in healthy pursuits. Zero accidents occurred over its 149,000 construction hours and on completion of the project, a survey of over 2,000 residents showed that 98% gave a good or excellent satisfaction score.
The scheme deserves to win an award as it is represents a beautiful and robust response to one of societies major challenges, in tackling the effects of climate change. It reflects and enhances its location, has encouraged more active travel use, more visitors and was delivered with significant cost and time savings, to wide acclaim from the local community, project funders, maintainers and client sponsors and is a wonderful advert for landscape architecture.
Morecambe Promenade Sea Defence
Coastal, waterways and wetlands
Atkins Landscape and Urban Design
Lancaster City Council
VBA were appointed to repair and or replace a crumbling concrete sea wall of around 1.1m height originally constructed in 1985. The brief also required adjacent promenade spaces to be upgraded as an integral part of the defences.
Finalist, Landscape Institute Awards 2019
Project team was VBA which is a joint venture comprising Volker Stevin Boksalis Westminster (Contractor) and Atkins the project designers
Local planning authority or government body
Lancaster City Council
The scheme was completed 6 months ahead of programme and achieved £3.8m of cost savings at £11.4m completion cost. It was also the Environment agencies highest value for money project in the north west at £1,000 per property against the national average of £12,000. It has also received the highest praise from Central Government, local government, the Environment Agency and residents and users who in a total experience survey on completion 98% gave it a good or excellent scoring. It has also picked up a number of professional awards including ICE, The Environment Agency and Lancaster and district design award.