Gravesend Cycle Hub

Gravesend Cycle Hub

Project outline:
Design of a striking new flagship cycle hub, from feasibility study, through planning stage to completion.

Gravesend station, Kent

Southeastern Railways

We provided:
Civil & structural engineering services
Project management services
Architectural services
Site surveys & investigations
Mechanical & electrical services

Key collaborators:
Southeastern Railways – our client
Archaeological Watching Brief (AWB) – oversaw the excavation works
Kent County Council – part-funded the scheme
Gravesham Borough Council – reviewed the listed building consent and worked closely with us to agree the choice of materials

Advice and assistance were provided by:
Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC)
Cyclopark Trust

We were commissioned by Southeastern Railways to undertake the conceptual design of a new cycle hub to encourage cycling as a preferred means of transport to and from Gravesend station. We were then appointed directly by the design and build contractor, Walker Construction UK Ltd, to develop the design through to completion and took on the role of Principal Designer for these works.

About the works:
Funding was provided to create a cycle hub offering cycle maintenance, repair, sales, electric bike charging and hire of Brompton Bikes.

The original design required both full planning permission and listed building permission. After a number of meetings with the planning officer and conservation architect from the local authority, we evolved a design that is both sleek and modern, and sympathetic to the adjacent buildings, as required by both the client and the local authority.

To further minimise the aesthetic impact, the hub is partially set within an existing embankment, requiring raft, strip and pad foundations and a reinforced concrete retaining wall, all of which required full highway structures approval.

Attention to detail:
The hub comprises a secure covered compound with 180 cycle spaces in two-tier hydraulic-sprung racks and a swipe fob entry system. Lockers and a ‘fix it’ stand and air pump are also provided along with an accessible toilet. A further 44 ‘drop and go’ cycle spaces are available at the station for those who need to park up quickly to catch the train. This means there are now 244 more bike spaces than before.

The main structure is made from lightweight steel, finished in a lead grey colour and clad with glazing to the perimeter. This required tight tolerances are careful checking of the sub-contractor’s drawings to ensure a good fit. The front elevation was constructed using a curtain walling system and a Brise Soleil detail to prevent overheating. The roof consists of metal decking, made of plywood with a Falzinc covering, which completes the clean visual effect.

All aspects of the design and build considered carefully to ensure they reflected the overall effect required. This included the various types of paving, perimeter fencing, tarmac surfacing, lighting bollards and CCTV.

A standout feature of the project…
The hub features energy efficient lighting to enhance the linear nature of the building and perimeter up-lighting which creates an impressive ‘jewellery box’ effect. The aspiration is that in creating such a landmark facility, it is possible to shift cultural perceptions and make cycling the preferred mode of transport for commuters accessing Gravesend station. This in turn helps to promote healthy and more environmentally conscious travel for the local community.

Signage is displayed both sides of the station and on the highway, linking the hub to the town centre and Cyclopark, a purpose-built facility for cycling and other outdoor activities.

Recognition for our work:
Gravesend won Railway Station of the Year in the Rail Cycle Awards 2017, with praise for its ‘very strong vision and great plan to execute.’ Levels of cycle parking have increased by around 48% since the hub opened and there has been a corresponding rise in customer satisfaction with the station’s facilities.

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