Grange Farm

Rebirth of a community at Grange Farm

You can trace the birth of Grange Farm back to the late 1800s when pressure on government to protect open park and heathland began to gather momentum. Slowly it began to establish itself as a place for young Londoners to enjoy fresh air, sport and recreation, away from congested and polluted inner cities. After World War 2 it became a thriving recreational destination, attracting visitors to its abundant playing fields, community pools and towering diving boards.

The entrance to Grange Farm in the 1960's

The original swimming pool at Grange Farm

There then followed the decline, and during the 70s Grange Farm revenue and capital debts spiralled. Construction of the M11 split the estate in two and it was eventually closed in 1983 and left to ruin. However the collective memory of the ‘baby boom’ generation who had enjoyed Grange Farm in its heyday, ensured that’s its spirit never quite died. And in 2008 after a series of public consultations, conditional approval was granted for the development of the new Grange Farm.

Grange Farm in 2019

We won unanimous Planning Permission for a scheme that packed many new and innovative features and built on its history and ‘green belt’ location: four new football pitches, changing rooms, a community hall with kitchen and staff housing; all set within beautiful grounds that accommodate the Essex Wildlife Trust.

The energy efficiency makes a real difference

Rober Draper Site Manager, Grange Farm Centre

Sustainable

The ‘green’ roof provides a habitat for wildlife while reducing C02, it regulates rainwater discharge and reduces the chance of flash flooding; something that is becoming commonplace as climate change takes hold. As with all our work, energy consumption is key and the well-insulated fabric combines with solar panels and ground source heat pumps to reduce energy demand substantially.

A digital rendered image of the green roof

First stage completion in 2012

The green roof, oak elevations and low-level design follow the contours of the site and the surrounding land blooms and blossoms impressively in the summer months. While the sensitively incorporated nature reserve provides habitat for indigenous butterflies, wildflowers and plants. Grange Farm is now firmly established as an important educational resource for local schools and community groups in the area.

Indeed, local engagement with the project has been one of the projects main successes. As well as a host for local sporting teams, the site provides a hub for people of all ages as well as families and social groups. It is cherished by those that work there and is looked after with pride by local people and staff alike.

We have continued to engage with the project as well as the many community based aspects at the centre. In 2019 we completed a further extension to the building, providing an additional multipurpose community room, community garden and kitchen to cope with the increasing range of activities. These include health, fitness and nutrition classes which are helping to deliver better health outcomes for local people. The new pavilion now creates revenue for the governing trust and the future for Grange Farm, once again, looks secure.

The nature reserve at Grange Farm

Project team

Keith Everitt

Consultant

Rod Lau

Architect

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