The Lookout at Lepe

  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Hampshire County Council
  • © Jim Stephenson

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Award

Region

South West

Local Authority Area

New Forest

Information about this scheme

"The Lookout,’ at Lepe Country Park re-provides accommodation and a key public service that had become tired and vulnerable to rising sea levels and increasing storm events. Located within the New Forest National Park, the authority’s Core Strategy and the Shoreline Management Policy required the development to be small scale, in keeping with the character of the coast, and not reliant on any form of sea defence. Surrounded by private estate and areas with numerous geological and ecological designations the development was restricted to a narrow margin of land ownership at beach level alongside the original café. In response to these constraints the building is strategically elevated some 2.5 metres above the beach and extreme high-water level predicted in about 100 years’ time. This approach allows future tidal surges, the principal driver for the project, to reclaim the beach without impediment. Constructed of concrete piles, a steel frame is insulated and clad in sustainable sourced timber and a fine zinc roof. To ensure the building is fully accessible, during the pre-planning period local access groups were consulted to help inform the proposals. Steps and a timber boardwalk follow the profile of the existing coastal slope, gently connecting the new building with the beach and lower car park and are set at a shallow gradient suitable for wheelchair users. Viewing and resting points are provided en-route, giving opportunities to stop and reflect upon the unique qualities of the site. A powered swing door gives access into the building, where the large dining/seating area is easy to navigate with windowsills set intentionally low to make the most of the view from a seated position. There are also all terrain wheel chairs on site which can be used by visitors to help them access the wider county park and beach site. Designed and managed by Hampshire County Council the park is supported by 200 volunteers. The Lookout at Lepe has given new life to a vulnerable stretch of coastline within the New Forest National Park. Its creation has increased awareness of the vulnerability of the coastline and promotes sustainability and the health and wellbeing of all that visit. It is a unique project on an outstanding stretch of coastline which overcomes many technical challenges to provide facilities for the whole community to enjoy.

Credits

Architect

Hampshire County Council Property Services

Client

Hampshire County Council Countryside Service

Landscape Architect

Hampshire County Council Property Services

Interior Designer

Hampshire County Council Property Services

Quantity Surveyor

Hampshire County Council Property Services

Structural Engineer

Hampshire County Council Property Services

Services Engineer

Hampshire County Council Property Services

Main Contractor

W Stirland Ltd

Primary Use Class

Class D1f - Public Library/Archive/Visitor Centre