Creating a lasting legacy

Hadleigh Park

Investing in sport
  • Category
    Health and Wellbeing
  • Awarded
  • Outcome

Proof of concept

A lasting legacy from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games

This award was received for the creation of a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games through investment in sport and recreational facilities, and enhancing the area’s green infrastructure for the benefit of local communities and visitors.

  • The project created a unique partnership with landowners, the planning authority, statutory consultees and the local community to increase interest in sports participation and healthy lifestyles across the UK.
  • Extensive engagement across the local community (outreach to 40,000 households) strengthened the pre-application planning and design process.
  • The project has seen positive feedback from residents and visitors on Trip Advisor about the wide range of opportunities and facilities available, including mountain biking on Olympic trails, multi-user trails, sensory room and a café.

Key facts

Occupancy rate in year one
Days a week bike hire is open
Occupancy rate in year one
acres of scenic countryside to pedal through
Occupancy rate in year one
outreach to households, creating extensive engagement across the local community
Map (Copyright Essex County Council)
Birds-eye view (Copyright Essex County Council)

Shifting perceptions of the area

How/why did the project benefit the public?

The project provided a significant step change in the community facilities available to this part of Essex, by improving access to the countryside and providing new visitor facilities. The provision of new sport and recreation opportunities, together with enhanced green infrastructure and improvements to the accessibility of the natural environment, provides direct benefits to residents’ and visitors’ health and well-being. These environmental, green infrastructure and access improvements are an important legacy of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.

What were local planners looking to achieve on the project?

  • To reduce barriers to the access and enjoyment of Hadleigh Park trails and paths by visitors of all abilities and ages, including walkers, cyclists, mountain biking, runners and horse riders.
  • To retain and adapt the London 2012 Olympic mountain bike course for use by the public.
  • To improve facilities for the community and visitors to the area.
  • To deliver projects to protect and enhance the natural and historic environment.
  • To offer community facilities and business opportunities, including the provision of replacement business units.

Justifying the need

How were local planners essential to the project's success

Planners played a pivotal role in effectively iterating and integrating the planning, design and assessments, alongside developing constructive partnerships with the landowners, planning authority and statutory consultees, as well as extensive engagement with the local community. These inclusive planning processes established confidence, openness and trust while incorporating early feedback into the planning processes. Strong local partnerships and continuity of planning staff/consultants throughout the project (2009-2015) enabled the successful and timely delivery of the project through the planning process.

Health and Wellbeing

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