Transforming a deprived city park into an exciting, inclusive and popular urban asset

The Level, a city centre park in Brighton, had a confused layout, had fallen into misuse and suffered general degradation.

As lead consultants on its reinvention, we were involved from the inception of the stage 1 Heritage Lottery Fund bid and feasibility study through to completion. We drew inspiration from its varied past and through public consultation engaged the community in its design, historical significance and our options for restoration.

As well as improved circulation, facilities and planting, we restored two pavilions, now used as local community and education spaces and for cultural events, and existing pergolas, to frame cross-site views.

The Level’s central hub is a café, with solar panels, green roof and rainwater harvesting system encouraging environmental awareness. The restored playground contains inclusive equipment, natural play features, sand and music play areas.

We also relocated the 1979 skate park, redesigning it to include introductory and advanced routes for all forms of skating.

Across the park, our planting schemes, the Rose Walk and flower garden create an oasis of colour and calm; a flowing, scented backdrop to the multitude of activities now on offer.

We are delighted that the scheme has so far received a Landscape Institute Award (2015), a Civic Trust Award (2015), a BALI National Landscape Award (2014), a ‘Bees Need’ Conservation Award (2015) and is a double Green Flag Award winner.

Brighton Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee, said: “The new-look Level is extremely popular with park users of all ages and a great place to relax and take time out in the heart of the city.”

If you’d like expert guidance on urban parkland regeneration, please contact Adrian Wikeley or Jennette Emery-Wallis