Heath Park masterplan wins top national urban design award

Runcorn: July 11th, 2022: The masterplan for Heath Park has won a prestigious national award in the UK’s ‘Festival of Place: Pineapple Awards’ celebrating the urban life of places and recognising developments where people seek to live, work and play.

The Heath Park masterplan has been produced by the site owners, SOG Group, in conjunction with EcoResponsive Environments, an emerging design and architectural practice based in London.

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 for The Heath in Runcorn, powered by renewable energy, where people can live, work and play.

Winning a Golden Pineapple for Future Place, award organisers said the SOG project “regenerates, diversifies and expands the 57-acre Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn.”

The masterplan includes high quality homes, affordable housing, extra care facilities, offices, a conference centre and state-of-the-art Vertical Farm.

The award organisers added: “An inspirational and forward-thinking masterplan, the judges saw this project as an excellent example of how commissioning, through competition, can be a route to more ambitious future places. Impressed by the set of principles established for the post-industrial site, it seems critical that going forward these ideals are enshrined in planning or other documentation to ensure they are not diluted in delivery of this forward-thinking project, having taken a strong, systems-based approach to environmental and social sustainability.”

The vision for Heath Park was the brainchild of SOG Group owner John Lewis MBE. His team of leading business consultants and top academics scrutinised the outcomes from the RIBA competition and then the eventual masterplan developed by EcoResponsive.

The meticulously researched masterplan has been adopted as a ‘Beacon Project’ by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.  It is also one of 35 ethical projects selected by the UK Government for inclusion in the Department for International Trade’s Global Investment Atlas in a bid to attract inward investment.  Heath Park is one of only two projects from the North-West and Wales to feature in the Atlas.

Mr Lewis says: “I’m absolutely delighted that SOG Group and EcoResponsive have received this very prestigious national accolade. I’m also pleased that the judges recognised our efforts to cast our net world-wide in an effort to find the most innovative ideas for what could be possible on our site.  Heath Park is a vision that has evolved from more than two years of immense effort and research which has seen us assess ideas and designs from across the world. Our masterplan process has been thoroughly scrutinised by some of the UK’s most prominent academics and a group of highly experienced business professionals. It has resulted in a dynamic and revolutionary scheme that will transform and secure the future of The Heath Business and Technical Park.

“Our vision for Heath Park is to create a Net Zero 21st century version of Port Sunlight*, powered by renewable energy, that meets the challenges of climate change in a brilliant and totally innovative model that can be replicated nationally and even globally.

“Heath Park is already acknowledged as an exceptional scheme by local, regional and national Government. Now this Golden Pineapple Award for Future Place has been judged by some of the leading figures in urban planning and development, and further underpins our credentials and the importance to partner with the international ethical investors that are necessary to turn this fantastic vision into reality.”

The SOG Group/EcoResponsive masterplan was selected from a variety of major UK projects that were shortlisted including three from London and masterplans from Bristol, Jersey and Cornwall.

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

* Heath Park’s ethos is modelled on ‘Port Sunlight’, the Victorian village built by industrialist Viscount Leverhulme in the 1800s. Reacting to appalling living conditions at the time, Lord Leverhulme’s inspiring idea created houses and community facilities in a healthy environment for workers of his soap factory.

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. SOG is currently working on the vision to transform The Heath into a Net Zero carbon environment over the next decade through the creation of Heath Park. 

Media contact: Paul Smith Associates (PSA) +44 (0) 7771 623 007

E-mail: paul@paulsmithassociates.co.uk