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Design Concept

LeisureDome is a large building and during the early development stage certain key concepts took precedence.

  • a 210m long ski slope, the longest and inevitably the highest, indoor real snow ski slope in the UK.
  • wayfinding to the numerous activities should be clear and understandable.
  • the building should be distinctive and memorable, both inside and outside
  • internal and external servicing should be separated from customer movements.
  • the position and scale of the building in the surrounding environment must be carefully considered.

The building will have a powerful wedge shape, dramatically reflecting the section through the ski zone inside. On the skyline, the shape will be simple, creating a new landmark for Weston-super-Mare.

The proposal is intended to have a finely balanced appearance, where it is seen as a landmark building, yet does not dominate current and future context of its surroundings.


The relationship of the building to the sky is the key issue in determining the colour and pattern on the higher parts of the building. The use of whites, blues and greys enable the building to relate directly to some aspect of the ever changing sky, but using a diagonal “mosaic” pattern ensuring a unique dynamism for this landmark structure.


Using the visual impact assessment, the building's scale has been investigated from close-up views and distant views around Weston Super-Mare and comparisons have been made between some of the well known buildings within the area.


Active frontages are part of the character of important streets and spaces that ensure the life of the building helps to animate the street making it feel safer and more welcoming. Using pre-application consultation from the master-planners and the local planning authority, a significant amount of design work has taken place to include as much active frontage to front elevation as possible. Around 90% of the ground floor has active frontage and display windows, with 100% of the first floor and second floor provide active frontage to the west elevation.


A profiled metal cladding is proposed as it eliminates the appearance of significant horizontal joints which will assist in the transition between the different colours and the changing sky colours. This simple form of cladding, will provide colour, variation and texture appropriate for a building this size. An open jointed sustainable timber cladding (Siberian Larch) is proposed to the front of the building. It is a very strong and robust timber with aesthetic beauty, durability and longevity.


As with any large multi-use building, the key to successful integration of internal activity spaces is the visual connections and physical accessibility. Using inspiration from Weston Super-Mare's seafront and the colourful imagery of English seaside beach huts, allowed the development of the 'Main Street' link along the southern side of the building.

The 'Main Street' is the internal pedestrian link to the different activities taking place in the building. It is a colourful experience of fun, laughter, excitement and enjoyment made us of a wavy roof structure and coloured glazing interspersed with shadows created by the external solar shading louvres.


The LeisureDome will seek to include the following renewable & sustainable technologies:

Passive Technology
  • Increased thermal insulation
  • Low air infiltration losses
  • High levels of natural daylight, to reduce artificial lighting

Good Practice Energy Saving Technology

  • Energy saving high efficiency light fittings.
  • Lighting controls incorporating presence and daylight linking
  • Low energy LED lamp technology to reduce energy usage

Low Zero Carbon Technology

  • Waste Heat Recovery (from snow plant)
  • Waste Cooling Energy Recovery (from snow plant)

Renewable energy technology and efficiency measures at the LeisureDome would result in a total estimated energy saving of 1,690,000 kWh of gas & electricity between the notional building and the proposed building.

The reduction of this energy consumption would result in estimated carbon emissions reduction of some 376 tonnes. When applied as a percentage it can be seen that the renewable contribution is approximately 19%, exceeding the criteria contained within policy GDP/3 of the North Somerset Replacement Local Plan.

A detailed visual impact assessment has informed the design development. This has included the siting of the building, its setting within the existing topography and established vegetation and the choice of building materials.

Visual Impact Assessment

  • A visual appraisal was undertaken in March, when visibility was greatest prior to trees leafing out.
  • Typical viewpoints for the visual assessment were agreed with North Somerset Council.
  • A range of publicly accessible views were assessed from local, middle distance and distant viewpoints.
  • Key views of the proposed LeisureDome will be from the M5 motorway and A370 approach to Weston-super-Mare.
  • Proposed tree planting in the LeisureDome car park will, in time, soften local views.
  • The building colour has been selected to minimise its prominence and help integrate the building into the landscape.

Levels and Landscape setting

  • The building has been set at a floor level of 6.75 A.O.D. to sit comfortably at the level of the new access road and the new park to the West. This will also ensure the building remains safely out of the 100 year flood zone.
  • Car parking and landscape areas will slope gently away from the building to ensure adequate drainage is provided and level access is possible for disabled users at every entrance.
  • 6.75 A.O.D. is about 15 metres below the level of the housing of Locking Grove and adjacent new development which helps reduce the apparent size of the LeisureDome from many residential areas.
  • At the east end of the site, the LeisureDome will be separated from the Grumblepill Rhyne by a belt of dense planting and an integrated close boarded fence to ensure the creation of a dark corridor along the rhyne for bats. This will be extended north and south as Locking Parklands develops.
  • Rainwater attenuation ponds for both this parcel and the greater Locking Parklands site will be developed along the Grumblepill Rhyne and the various green fingers that stretch westward from the rhyne, in line with the scheme developed for Phase 1.

Landscape Design

  • Wherever possible, the best quality existing trees will be retained.
  • Substantial new planting of large tree species is proposed. These will include; Oak, Beech, Hornbeam, Alder, Pine and Dawn Redwood.
  • Native tree and shrub planting belts are proposed to the car park perimeter.
  • Enhancement of the Grumblepill Rhyne corridor is proposed with native planting, whilst observing Internal Drainage Board access requirements.
  • Semi ornamental shrub planting is proposed at the site entrance for year round interest.
  • A reed bed within the attenuation basin will treat surface water runoff from the car park, before discharge into Grumblepill Rhyne.

Alpine McCannix Motion Ramp Park
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