I’ve been working on Ebbsfleet for five years now. It started with Define helping out with some masterplanning work and it’s evolved into us being responsible for the design and detailing of all the public realm in the entire Eastern Quarry- which is roughly 14Ha of parkland and open space- the life force for the 6000 new homes to be located here as part of the NHS Health New Towns initiative. The site sits in the former Ebbsfleet Chalk Quarry, a landscape characterised by chalk cliffs and lakes, with the ever imposing silhouette of Dartford Bridge looming over everything.

There’s an excitement in the project like we’re doing something new, like we’re pushing boundaries all the time. Everybody wants to get involved, all eyes are on it and there’s a huge expectation – a feeling that we’re helping change things for the better.

In terms of my life choices it’s a perfect fit. I’ve always been drawn to nature. I’ve always cycled or walked to work. I’ve always loved being around the buzz of people. My favourite landscapes have been those left to ruin, peppered with relics of the past. Nature finding a way in the unlikeliest of places. The first time I visited Ebbsfleet and sat upon one of the cliffs looking out towards the London Skyline I realised I wanted to design the whole thing. Or maybe just protect what was already here.

To me it’s about the existing landscape. A landscape of sheer white cliffs, carved out of the ground to make London’s concrete. It’s the ultimate backdrop to design to. I can’t wait to walk across the bridges down in Castle Hill. Still looking across at the cliffs like the first time I visited the site. A Peregrine Falcon perched there looking back. We’re just facilitating human intervention; and providing the inhabitants of an entire garden city a place to feel belonging.


It’s not just about the design. We’re talking about a legacy with this project. We’re putting everything we’ve learnt into practice and we’re building it. Pushing towards actual sustainable travel options; building communities, climate resilience and it all comes down to the people involved all drawn to the same goal. It feels like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and in a way it is. But beyond this, if we get it right we can show people how we did it, that we can achieve these aspirations that go beyond normality. We can create a place from scratch where people work, live and play together and where communities thrive.


I’ve not had much time to stop and write thought pieces! Only in the last couple of months we’ve managed to get detailed planning approval on Alkerden Academy, updates to the Design Code agreed, Castle Hill Park is almost built, Ashmere Entrance is finished and they turned the lights on last night. We’re busy trying to get Fastrack drawings approved and I’m remotely supporting the ecologist on site with his new pond (not sure I’ll see him for a while). Next year we’re starting on the Major Urban Park- taking inspiration from Park RIO in Madrid and Camí De Les Guixeres in Igualada, Barcelona.  (https://lapinyabarcelona.com/blog-archive/cami-guixeres-igualada).