A haven of calm and tranquillity

A place that seeks to find the perfect balance between work and relaxation, The Old Vinyl Factory is home to a large, young community and provides them with commercial and leisure facilities, restaurants, shops, cafes and bars.

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ut this isn’t all. Far above the ground, a series of roof gardens and patios have also been sensitively developed by Blackdown Greenroofs, an Alumasc company, catering to the large number of young families and working parents in the community, while ensuring that more Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are put in place for the good of the wider environment.

The core aim of SuDS is to manage rainfall in a way as similar to the natural process as possible, making use of landscape and vegetation to control the volume and flow of surface water.

It’s now mandatory in Wales that all new developments of more than one dwelling or where the construction area is 100m² or more should feature SuDS. The rest of the UK may not be far behind in the race to meet our crucial Climate Change Challenge target.

To achieve this and more, Blackdown Greenroofs installed an intensive green roof, and integrated bespoke intensive planters containing a variety of wildflowers, sedums and shrubs, alongside paved areas, benches and decking. An intensive green roof features a substrate of increased depth, so that planting can be similar to that on the ground: planters, lawns, trees and shrubs all have a healthy home here.

The four main blocks that constitute the development rise above a central podium area, hiding their private oasis from the general public. A haven of calm and tranquillity, each space is designed around the idea of extending indoor living space into the outdoors. Each garden features seating areas and places perfect for picnicking. Small trees and shrubs provide privacy, while playground apparatus set in specially designed areas complete the area.

Rob Beswick at B D Landscape Architects, who designed the space, said: “I have been really impressed with the completed development. The podium landscape and roof terraces are well installed and it’s great to see a project where the quality of the soft landscape hasn’t been compromised.”

Having a recreational green area is a huge and often rare benefit to urban and city dwellers, who may not have access to nearby public parks or natural areas close to home, leading to the vast majority of time being spent indoors, or travelling up to an hour to reach day trip destinations. Research has shown that those who regularly spend time in a natural environment have improved mental, emotional and physical health, as just having regular access to a safe outside space encourages social interaction and physical exercise – both things that can reduce stress, improve mood and attention and even raise productivity at work.

Encouraging local natural wildlife and aiding biodiversity, the gardens are not only there for the benefit of the residents. Planted with various carbon absorbing plants and bee-friendly flowers, they ensure that the green space, that may have occupied the plot at ground level, is replaced, ensuring local wildlife and biodiversity have a future here.

The children’s play area includes large pebble seats, model bears, large 3D resin play models and active play equipment. Permanent irrigation systems are installed to ensure the gardens’ longevity and that this area in particular doesn’t flood, keeping it safe and useable for young children.

The green roofs have the added insulation benefits of absorbing sunlight and heat, helping to keep the interior spaces below cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. Meanwhile, vegetation and soil substrate absorb excess water from heavy rainfall events, helping to prevent flooding and extend the life of the waterproofing membranes beneath.

With providing the utmost health and safety in mind, gates and fencing were also installed, all using specialist fixing methods to ensure the integrity of the waterproofing membrane below the green roof was not compromised.

Blackdown Greenroofs is part of Alumasc and is a specialist in supply, installation and maintenance of green roof systems, balcony finishes and podium landscaping solutions.

Alumasc Roofing offers an unrivalled choice of waterproofing and green roof systems, suitable for every roofing application for both new build and refurbishment projects. With BBA certified systems, technical expertise and full warranty packages, Alumasc ensures engineered solutions are available for projects of any scale.

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