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South Downs National Solar Ecology Park

Projects / Mixed use

South Downs National Solar Ecology Park

Project information


Client: South Downs National Park Authority

Project Date: 2014-now



Site Location: Old Shoreham Cement Works, Upper Beeding, UK

Project Status: Concept Design

Our plan is to create a major leisure complex on the 26 hectare site of the present Shoreham Cement Works, with extensive semi derelict industrial buildings and an inactive chalk quarry, in the heart of the South Downs National Park.

The cement works is the largest brownfield site in the South East of England, situated on the river Adur, 5 kilometres north of Shoreham-by-sea and near to Brighton. The complex is within easy reach of London and access to continental Europe.

Site location 

Old Shoreham cement works site

Shoreham disused cement works & quarry

A great deal is known about the site constraints 

The Cement Works has been described by the Planning Inspector as a “major visual intrusion at a strategic point within the South Downs”.


The site is recognised as having the potential to provide for leisure facilities and visitor accommodation.


The proposal will bring new life and employment opportunities into the area within a vibrant zero energy development containing an entertainment venue for open air performance.


Concept sketch showing how to make a unique restored landspace asset.

The Concept

Our proposal uses landscaped terraces to repair an industrial scar on this cherished part of the countryside. We will sensitively create desirable holiday accommodation within a vaulted amphitheatre that can host the world’s leading musicians and performers. We will return plants and wildlife to this degraded environment and generate all running power from on-site renewable energy.

The purposes and duty of the Nation Park

Purpose one: Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area.

Purpose two: Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Park by the public.

Purpose three: To seek to foster the social and economic wellbeing of the local communities within the Nation Park in pursuit of our purposes.

The plan is to renovate the Cement Works site, demolishing some of the unsightly works buildings while retaining and renovating the heritage buildings and remodelling the site to create “The South Downs Experience” visitor attraction and provide a range of year round accommodation and activities, including: 


Earth Sheltered Holiday accommodation of over 700 units, including:

  • 120 accommodation pods located in the main car park  on an elevated platform over parking spaces (in order to retain the use of the parking spaces) and under a solar PV canopy

  • 650 earth covered vaults, designed to blend in with the  surrounding countryside in an "Inhabited landscape"


Hotel accommodation of 130 rooms, including:

  • 80 hotel rooms in the renovated cement works

  • 50 rooms in a vaulted riverside hotel


A live / work village

50 earth sheltered homes built into terracing around the existing cement works will provide affordable homes and live / work starter

Chalk Terraces Concept

Imagine a 500 unit south coast holiday park inserted into the reconfigured chalk teraces.

This wil create demand for the on site hospitality facilities. This will provide much needed affordable bedspaces in the heart of the National Park without resorting to unsightly caravans. Each vault must be accessed from a sloping terraced track wide enough for a land rover or electric quad bike.

Example of zero carbon, earth sheltered hotel or reverside hostel

Two storey parking facility with low-cost overnight private pods

Under the Solar Canopy


Covered market

A central area covered by a translucent solar PV canopy, providing a covered market that would accommodate a weekly Farmers’ market on fixed days for the sale of local produce with street food kiosks and other attractions in the style of Borough Market (a market which is a major tourist attraction for food enthusiasts in London)

Covered performance stage

The stage will be located alongside an onsite lake and covered by a solar PV canopy to provide weatherproof protection for the performers while generating electricity. The facility allows all weather performance events, and extends the use of the venue all year.


  •  Wildlife: Bodies of water are incorporated into the landscape design in two key areas. The consistent water levels in the lakes provide excellent wildlife habit potential.

  • Natural Swimming Ponds: Two tanked lakes will be created, with perimeter reed water polishing systems to collect surface water runoff and create wildlife habitat.

  • Cable powered wake boarding, rock climbing, high rope centre and mountain biking plus electric biking sports integrated in quarry landscape with observation / spectators café.

The main arena and holiday accomadation

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