Last Friday at an elegant awards ceremony at Bristol’s Science Museum, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) South West announced the winners of its Civil Engineering Awards 2017. Despite the many amazing entries the Cockington Lakes Restoration won the Community Award.
These prestigious awards celebrate outstanding civil engineering achievement, innovation and ingenuity around the South West. It is a chance for projects and organisations from across the region to showcase the fantastic work that is taking place.
The restoration of Cockington Lakes was regarded as an extraordinary assignment due to the many and sometimes unique challenges that the organisations involved faced during the works such as the steep sided surroundings, dense woodland location and narrow access, the safeguarding and care of protected historic and valued plant life and minimising the impact on this popular Victorian tourist attraction. The project took years to plan and required a lot of support and fundraising through Cockington’s Green Heart Appeal, the Trust, local volunteers and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
It was considered that engineering excellence was demonstrated in overcoming these challenges; the timings of the works during the autumn/winter schedule; stakeholder engagement; and partnering with volunteers to ensure that programming and budget constraints were met.
Simon Bonvoisin, Partner at Nicholas Pearson Partnership, landscape consultant to the Trust, said “I’m delighted that the Institution of Civil Engineers recognises the value of smaller projects like the restoration of Cockington ponds, which need high levels of skills to repair the jewel-like quality of intricate historic landscapes. It has been a real team effort by the Trust, Torbay Development Agency, local volunteers, and WM Plant Hire to deliver this keyhole engineering in a sensitive location, which would not have been possible without the funding and support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.”
Cockington’s three historic lakes suffered a massive build-up of silt over time, affecting both wildlife and visual appeal. The ultimate goal was to return the Lakes to something approaching their former glory as the ‘pleasure grounds’ created by the Mallock family and to provide a much healthier environment for a wider variety of fish and other wildlife.
All landscape works and ornamental planting was undertaken by volunteers and trainees, the latter living in a newly refurbished thatched cottage on site.
Damian McGettrick, of WM Plant Hire, said
“Winning the Community Award reflects the engagement with the local community, carrying out difficult work in a challenging environment. Working closely with the local volunteer group was a key success factor”.
Damian Offer, Director of Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust said
“I am absolutely delighted that the Lakes project has received the ICE SW Community Project award. This much deserved award recognises that restoration of the Lakes in Cockington would not be possible without the enormous contribution of time and energy given by the community. Community involvement re-homed the fish, cleared the way for contractors to remove silt and repair paths and is rejuvenating the landscaping.
I would like to thank everyone for their contribution to date. With the community’s help over the coming years, I am confident that the Lakes will once more be one of the jewels in Torbay’s crown.”
Richard Fish, Chair of the Awards Judging Panel said: “We were delighted to celebrate the achievements of so many local projects at our awards ceremony.
“Collectively, the winning projects are a real showcase of the breadth and depth of civil engineering; they include a major new water supply grid, bridge restoration and maintenance, a new highway, highway maintenance, a rail line replacement, an historical lake restoration and even a nuclear research project. This is far from an exhaustive list of what civil engineering is all about, but it gives a very good idea of how much our profession impacts upon everybody’s quality of life.
“I would like to offer my congratulations to all of the winning and highly commended projects; their work is a shining example of civil engineering at its best.”
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