Heath Park masterplan wins second national award


Runcorn: September 29th, 2022: The masterplan for Heath Park has won a second prestigious national award.

EcoResponsive Environments, an emerging design and architectural practice appointed by SOG Group to devise the masterplan for the regeneration of The Heath Business and Technical Park site in Runcorn, Cheshire, are the winner of the ‘Small Masterplans’ category in the National Urban Design Awards 2023.

The accolade follows a UK ‘‘Festival of Place: Pineapple Award 2022’ in a competition celebrating the urban life of places and recognising developments where people seek to live, work and play.

SOG’s owner John Lewis MBE DL, the inspiration behind the Heath Park vision, says: “I’m delighted that SOG and EcoResponsive are getting recognition on the national stage for our proposals to create a truly dynamic, inspiring and healthy Net Zero environment at The Heath where people can live and work.  Our planning application has been submitted to planners and these awards underpin how visionary our scheme is.  It is already recognised as a ‘Beacon Project’ by Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram and for the past three years we have been one of the key ethical schemes promoted by the Government in the UK’s ‘Global Investment Atlas’. ”Submissions for the Urban Design Awards are judged against objective criteria – whether they are: 

  • People friendly.
  • Reflect current best practice guidance on technical design (e.g. highways, drainage).
  • Reflect current best practice guidance on wider design issues such as context, identity, movement, resources etc.
  • Would help local councils meet legal duties such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the 2050 net zero carbon emission target.

The  Awards are open to any UK practice, organisation, local authority or branch of government.

Of the Heath Park masterplan, judges commented: “The Judges loved this scheme. The graphics were good and the images relevant and well depicted. It was a broad team that had brought this scheme together: the Interdisciplinary process and urban systems approach worked well. The scheme showed there had been lots of discussion and recognition of complexity – there were thoughtful ways of giving credit to how the design process works. The local university was involved and there was a clear focus on natural capital. They had thought through the environmental impact along with social life. There was a dense interlaying of different kinds of users in different stages of life.

“It was a bold proposal – but it doesn’t touch the town centre, it only works on the outside areas. However, what they’ve done with the space is good.”

The judges singled out nine particular strengths of the masterplan.

  • Circular economy, regenerative, green innovation
  • Interdisciplinary processes, using Enquiry by Design format
  • Urban Systems approach to design
  • Truly ‘transformative’
  • Broad agenda mobilising all aspects of urban design / regeneration
  • Excellent graphic techniques for conveying ideas / principles
  • Providing optimism in a challenging context
  • Rounded understanding of sustainable place-making
  • Demonstrates how urban design can be a catalyst for change

Mr Lewis added: “The meticulous way the judges have dissected our masterplan and their very pertinent comments demonstrate that we have clearly come up with an inspirational and aspirational scheme that the Borough of Halton and Liverpool City Region can be proud of.  We have a programme with fantastic innovations to enhance the working and living environment of people, a project that will generate jobs and opportunity and which will meet Net Zero targets.”

EcoResponsive Environments won a global competition organised by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and sponsored by SOG which challenged architects, designers, planners and forward thinkers to create a sustainable futuristic environment, powered by renewable energy, for The Heath Business and Technical Park site. The result is Heath Park, a mixed-use development on the already established and thriving business and science park. It revolves around a unique residential, business, science, leisure, community and commercial venture, built around sound ecological values, in a Net Zero Carbon environment. Focal to the scheme is a ground-breaking ‘Field of the Future’ Vertical Farm, powered by hydrogen, producing healthy, Net Zero, food for the local community.  

A planning application for the scheme has been submitted to Halton Borough Council following nearly three years of meticulous research. The Council has already approved Heath Park’s Pre-Application proposal and the final masterplan has been created in full consultation with the Council’s Planning Department.                                                                

For further details on Heath Park visit: www.heathpark-uk.com

About SOG Group

SOG Group is one of the UK’s top independent operators of business and science parks and are renowned site regeneration specialists. SOG own The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn, Cheshire, which is home to over 120 individual businesses that between them support the employment of around 2,000 people. Using The Heath business model, SOG created a consultancy operation under the name of ‘Fusion’. SOG’s Fusion team spearheaded the regeneration of a massive site in east London, formerly home to a global pharmaceutical company, where it created Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park.  Until February 2019, SOG operated Londoneast-uk as a sister Park to The Heath before selling it to a company owned by the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. Through its Fusion concept, SOG helped to generate over £2 billion of inward investment to the Dagenham site regeneration programme.

SOG’s Runcorn operation is a unique example of how a successful science and technology park should operate. Many of the organisations located in the facilities are at the very cutting-edge of scientific R&D, with firms specialising from nanotechnology to carbon emissions research and from pioneering work on hip and knee joint replacements to water and waste-water treatment technology.  As The Heath site has reached full capacity, SOG has embarked on a new build-programme which allows existing fast-growing resident businesses to move out of multi-occupancy units into their own exclusive bespoke buildings, designed and built by SOG’s team.

Media contact: Paul Smith Associates +44 (0) 7771 623 007 E-mail: paul@paulsmithassociates.co.uk