Looking back, and looking forward to another great year

Jan 3 2020

Top left: Queen Elizabeth Country Park Top middle: Whitchurch Silk Mill Top right: Gilbert White's Museum  Bottom left: Agility trails at Queen Elizabeth Country Park Bottom middle: Robert May's School Bottom right: Andrews' Endowed School

Hampshire County Council’s Property Services continues to go from strength to strength, with projects ranging from a new visitor centre at one of Hampshire’s country parks to approval for a major new development. 2019 was another fantastic year for our multi-disciplinary team.

In 2019, work to transform Hampshire County Council’s (HCC) country parks saw the completion of a £1.2 million visitor centre at Queen Elizabeth Country Park. Other highlights from the year were the completion of the first secondary school to be built in Hampshire for over ten years: Oakmoor School, and the new Boorley Park Primary School, which is Property Services’ first Department for Education Free School project and the £7.6million expansion project at Robert May’s School in Odiham, a project highly commended in the SPACES 2019 awards School Refurbishment category.

The year also saw continued national recognition for the high quality of our building design and works undertaken by our multi-disciplinary team, with projects shortlisted or winning no fewer than 19 awards in 2019. These include The Lookout at Lepe: winner of a RIBA Award and New Forest National Park Design Award, shortlisted for RICS Award and SPACES Award runner-up; The D-Day Story Museum where the design and refurbishment project was shortlisted in both the Museum and Heritage Awards and AJ Retrofit Awards, highly commended in the LABC South East Building Excellence Awards and nominated for the European Museum of the Year Awards; and what a year it has been for the Whitchurch Silk Mill, collecting five awards following a £1.3 million transformation project by our Heritage Architecture Team.

Other significant projects by our historic buildings and conservation team in 2019 included improvements to the visitor facilities at Gilbert White’s Museum. Already highly commended in the conservation category of the South Downs Design Awards, this project was nominated for the Solent Quality Place Award in 2019. In another refurbishment project, our interior design team designed and project managed the creation of a new café bar in the much-loved Theatre Royal Winchester.

One rather special project we were delighted to help undertake in 2019 was the repair and restoration work at the Grade 2* Andrews’ Endowed School in Alton, who were preparing to celebrate their 300-year anniversary. In a collaborative project, staff from across Property Services came together to ensure the necessary works were completed, both in readiness for this historic occasion and to help conserve the building for generations to come.

Our pioneering landscape architecture team work on a diverse range of projects, with a recent example, the Forts and Fleets agility trails at Queen Elizabeth Country Park being selected by the Landscape Institute as an exemplar project. The landscape team’s in-house Specialist Stakeholder Engagement offer will continue to support steering groups and whole communities in the strategic planning of their grounds’ development.

Following HCC’s declaration of a climate emergency in June, the work and trail-blazing initiatives of our energy team is helping to make a significant contribution to HCC’s carbon reduction programme. Achievements to date include savings of nearly £200,000 from the LED relighting programme, 65 solar PV (panel) installations, and the Electric Vehicle Charging Point Framework which, by the end of June, saw the installation of 129 charging points across Hampshire with more to follow.

Looking ahead, works will commence at St Francis Special School providing new classrooms and improvements to the internal and external spaces to ensure it continues to meet the needs of its students. Other new schools under construction include Kings Barton Primary School in Winchester and Deer Park Secondary School near Botley.

The building and landscape work at Hampshire’s country parks will continue with projects at Staunton, Manor Farm and River Hamble Country Parks; the extension and renovation of Jermyn’s House in the grounds of the famous Hillier Gardens, and the transformation works at Petersfield Museum where our in-house design team are working on a new exhibition space.

Whilst we pride ourselves on the design, renovation, maintenance and management of buildings and grounds, the most important part of our service is our team. In 2019, we welcomed a new cohort of Generalist Graduates and Degree Apprentices and, at the Hampshire Apprenticeship Awards in October, the County Council celebrated the success and recognition of its fantastic mentors and apprentices.

With the many varied projects and workstreams, both in Hampshire and further afield, 2020 is sure to be an exciting and busy year for our innovative and forward-thinking team in Property Services.

Images: Top left: Queen Elizabeth Country Park
Top middle: Whitchurch Silk Mill
Top right: Gilbert White's Museum
Bottom left: Agility trails at Queen Elizabeth Country Park
Bottom middle: Robert May's School
Bottom right: Andrews' Endowed School