The Big Parks Project was set up in 2011 to deliver improved recreation and leisure facilities in Peacehaven. The project was funded by financial contributions from developments in Peacehaven and grant funding from Veolia Environmental, Southdowns National Park Authority and the Children’s Health Fund. Consultations were set up with the community to find out what was needed and wanted by the local people. The project board comprised representatives from Lewes District Council, Peacehaven Town Council, East Sussex County Council and Peacehaven Community School. The board made key decisions for the project and the day to day project management was carried out by Lewes District Council. Following an extensive public consultation, it became clear that residents wanted a place to play, walk and cycle, a place to meet their friends. A Masterplan was then drawn up for the park by landscape architects Allen Scott Ltd and architects Kaner Olette. The plan included improved sports facilities, skate park, a central activity hub with café, and open space and recreation areas suitable for all sections of the community. The park is of significant archaeological interest and so the café was designed to incorporate an interpretation space to accommodate some of the artefacts found at the site. Additionally the park adjoins the South Downs National Park and provides a gateway to exploring the wider countryside, this was also taken into consideration when considering the look and feel of the development.
The skate park by Canvas Spaces, the playground by Playsafe playgrounds, The Gateway Cafe and the ‘Hub’ were completed in the spring of 2015. In March 2015, the first phase of the project was completed and a grand opening of the park attracted 5000 visitors. The park has been well received by visitors and critics alike, winning several awards.
Constructing Excellence Awards 2015 – Sustainability Category – Winner
Architect Journal Retrofit Awards 2015 – Leisure Category – Winner
RIBA South East Award 2016 – Winner
Sussex Heritage Trust – 2016 Public and Community Award – Highly Commended
Royal Visit – 15th April 2015