The transformation of the giant Longbridge brownfield site by regeneration specialist St. Modwen has inspired a gold medal triumph at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
Worcester-based Wilson Associates Garden Design created an abstract interpretation of the “gritty beauty” of former industrial sites, like the MG Rover car plant in Birmingham. “Brownfield Metamorphosis,” designed by Martyn Wilson and sponsored by St. Modwen, was one of the highlights of the new “Gardens for a Changing World” category at Hampton Court, and scooped the prestigious RHS gold medal award.
The stunning concept garden is punctuated by a series of monolithic steel structures that evoke the manufacturing engine-room of the Industrial Age. The steel appears twisted and torn, indicating the decline of big industry. However, the decay is being replaced by natural regeneration, with trees and vegetation self-seeding. Swathes of grasses, ferns, herbaceous perennials and self-seeding annuals soften the hard landscaping.
RAF veteran Mr Wilson, a former town planner with Worcestershire County Council, said: “I’m incredibly chuffed and so grateful to everyone who helped me create this garden, especially my sponsors St. Modwen. It’s been such a tremendous pleasure building this show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and to get a gold medal is fantastic.”
Martyn’s garden is also helping to raise the profile of cancer charity UCARE (Urology Cancer Research and Education) at the show with volunteers greeting visitors.
St. Modwen is currently transforming Longbridge into a new £1 billion mixed-use community comprising more than 2,000 new homes and 2 million sq ft of employment space.
Mark Allan, Chief Executive of St. Modwen, said: “The transformation and regeneration of Longbridge not only goes a long way to answer the UK’s existing housing crisis but has also brought back 468 acres of brownfield land into the public sphere that was previously not accessible for the Longbridge community. Sponsoring the first-ever brownfield garden at Hampton Court was a great opportunity for St. Modwen to showcase the need to create and open up previously disused spaces for future generations to enjoy.”
As part of the Longbridge regeneration, St. Modwen has already invested £2 million in the three-acre Austin Park, the first public park to be built in south west Birmingham in the last five decades.