Reflecting on 2020 and looking ahead to an exciting future

Jan 13 2021

Reflecting on 2020 and looking ahead to an exciting future

Despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, Hampshire County Council’s Property Services has continued to deliver important and trailblazing projects, ranging from innovative and environmentally sustainable schools, to conservation works bringing the history of Staunton Country Park to life.

School projects have remained a significant part of the works the service has undertaken, and the team delivered a range of these during the year, such as Stoneham Park Academy and Barton Farm Primary Academy which were completed in time for the start of the new academic year in the autumn.

Stoneham Park Academy and Barton Farm Primary Academy are both exemplars of Property Services working as one multi-disciplinary team. These innovative and forward-looking projects were designed and built for sustainability and energy efficiency, helping to contribute to Hampshire County Council’s carbon reduction programme. Stoneham Park Academy’s design has already been acknowledged by the Structural Timber Awards and the County Council has been shortlisted in no fewer than four categories for this project. This pilot for a 1.5 FE Primary School was constructed using a Streif timber frame - a compact and energy efficient form with fabric first/Passivhaus principles.

Another particularly noteworthy project was Colden Common Primary School, where Property Services completed an extension to the existing school building. One member of our team has been involved in the delivery of three separate significant phases of work at this school over the years, including its original build in 1997!

For the 2020 year, projects from across Property Services were shortlisted for a total of ten awards – several of which we went on to win. These include:

  • Reading Abbey Ruins: highly commended at the 2020 Civic Trust AABC Conservation Awards and winner of the best use of heritage in placemaking at the Planning Awards;
  • Oakmoor school in Bordon: shortlisted for a RIBA South Award and RICS Social Impact Award;
  • Four projects shortlisted for SPACES awards: Endeavour Primary School Kirk Campus, Queen Elizabeth Country Park Visitor Centre, Royal Victoria Chapel, and the Theatre Royal Winchester.

Some of the works completed by our historic buildings and conservation team in 2020 included a new café and visitor centre at Gilbert White’s Museum, Selborne, completed in what was a significant year for the museum as they celebrated Gilbert White’s 300th birthday in July. Works continued and are nearing completion at Petersfield museum, with the redevelopment of the old police station and museum into a fantastic new exhibition space for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Our pioneering landscape architecture team continued to work on a diverse range of projects, including initiatives such as the Daily Mile Scheme, promoting the importance of health and wellbeing among children. The team successfully created their first daily mile track at Red Barn Primary School in Fareham. Postponed until November 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Outdoor Classroom Day social media campaign provided the perfect opportunity for the team to share their recent projects at Barton Farm Primary Academy and Stoneham Park Academy, as well the range of other works undertaken by this fantastic team.

The transformation of the County Council’s Country Parks has continued. Following works already undertaken at Lepe, Royal Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth Country Parks, one rather special project we were delighted to help undertake in 2020 was the repair and restoration work at the historically significant Staunton Country Park, which included conservation works to some of the ten grade II and II* listed structures, a new café and visitor hub, supported by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Big Lottery Fund.

Following Hampshire County Council’s declaration of a climate emergency, the work and trailblazing initiatives of our energy team continue to help make a significant contribution to the County Council’s carbon reduction programme. The Electric Vehicle Charging Point (EVCP) Framework continues to go from strength to strength and has facilitated the installation of over 200 EV charging points across the county and locally, with a further 1,000 planned for the new year. An achievement recognised by the Electric Vehicle Innovation and Excellence Awards, where the framework won the Public Sector

Infrastructure Strategy of the Year award. It was also shortlisted for the EV Infrastructure Project of the Year at the 2020 Solar and Storage Live Awards.

Positive place making is an integral part of our work and a highlight of the year was the signing of contracts between the County Council, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Urban and Civic and the Wellcome Trust, creating the development company which will transform 321 hectares of land in Basingstoke over the next 15 years into Manydown – a sustainable garden community.

Looking ahead, working with our partners in neighbouring authorities and beyond will remain an important and significant part of our work. As will our programme of works providing high quality learning establishments to help ensure there are enough school places to meet demand. Another exciting project which will complete in 2021 is the renovation and extension to Jermyn’s House which will offer an improved visitor experience to the renowned Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey.

With the unexpected challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no doubt that the most vital part of our service is our people. The team continued to deliver ground-breaking projects and, looking ahead to 2021, is looking forward to working on not only more exciting and pioneering areas of work, but also towards a cleaner and greener future.

Images: Top left to right: Stoneham Park Academy, Barton Farm Primary Academy and Staunton Country Park
Bottom left: Café at Gilbert White's Museum 
Bottom right: Electric Vehicle Charging Point