Peak paving solution from Brett Landscaping ensures a ‘School with a view’

Fulfilling a landscape architect’s brief to achieve cost-effectiveness under strict planning regulations, Brett Landscaping has been commended for its involvement in supplying its Beta concrete block paving at a two and three-storey split level cedar clad school, built within a Greenbelt area on the border with the National Peak District Park at Worrall in Sheffield.

The installation of Beta paving, which has been selected to fulfil the hard landscaping element of the school’s rebuild, has resulted in the delivery of a clean, smooth and durable aesthetic thanks to its minimal edge chamfer, making it ideal for the school’s required application.

The rebuilt £22 million Bradfield School has been created on top of the original building’s existing site and covers over 8,600m². With its Loxley Valley position, the school’s location alone has presented design teams and contractors involved with specific planning restrictions, all of which have needed to be sensitively addressed, even the hard-landscaping, as the project’s landscape architect.

Rebecca Wyles of HLM explains:

“The Bradfield School has been a significant and exciting rebuild project, where a new, state of the art school has been recreated within its existing land on the edge of the Peak District National Park. We knew that rebuilding a school within this Peak District location would mean planning restrictions would be specific and commanding, particularly with regard to design and materials.”

So it proved, as not only did the building’s architecture have to be in keeping with the surroundings, but also the associated hard landscaping outside the building. As a result, HLM needed to draw in the skills of a competent supplier who could be relied upon to deliver an appropriate paving solution.

HLM’s decision to involve Brett initially stemmed from seeing a showcase of the supplier’s extensive colour palette, which presented more natural tone options than most other manufacturers.

However, as the project evolved so did Brett’s involvement, with the team working alongside HLM, in addition to the planning division to create a bespoke paving solution that would be entirely appropriate aesthetically, while also meeting the economic demands of the project.

Rebecca goes on to explain that the installation of mixed colour paving, as opposed to flat colour blocks formed an essential pre-requisite from the planning department, as it was felt that the use of non-uniform sizes would reduce the risk of creating an unsuitable ‘urban feel’, and instead form a more appropriate rural solution.

Working with the team, Brett designed, blended and produced a specific block run of 60mm Beta concrete block paving in a unique colour combination to meet the planning stipulations.

Jamie Gledhill, Brett’s Northern Specification Manager gives more detail with regard to what was involved:

“We had 4,000 sq m to cover, using 3 different sized blocks to suit the detailed specification exactly. As we were working on a completely bespoke project, we had to design and run the precise colour mix and guarantee production of enough blocks without creating over-run and causing unnecessary expense. The fact we were willing, and able, to make the specific blocks and offer this very particular service to Rebecca and the team, meant we could go that extra mile, to add all-important value.”

The result has been very effective, as Rebecca, who is extremely satisfied with the efforts made by Brett to perform beyond standard supplier requirements, confirms:

“The installed design blends well with the site and its surrounds, creating a soft, subtle and naturalistic setting that’s appropriate for this particular school building. The paving merges into the landscape with muted tones, and when combined with a naturalist planting palette creates an impression where, as you travel from the more formal front of the building to the more relaxed grounds beyond, the aesthetic of the landscape becomes softer and blends with the adjoining open fields. With time and plant growth, this will develop further and go on improving.”