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Category:  General News
Landscape Masterplan

Residential Housing

Housing for People and Biodiversity!

Housing developers….did you know they have the ability to change the world? A rather bold statement on our part – but we believe it’s true. Think about it – housing developers can supply affordable homes to those who may have been homeless. Housing developers can design developments which embrace green infrastructure, such as parks, play areas, green spaces, trees, hedgerows, ponds and rivers; providing nature with a home too. Housing developers can influence the well-being of communities that live in the housing estates they design and build. Housing developers can make people healthier and happier. Housing developers can save the NHS millions of pounds. Housing developers can stop a species from being threatened to extinction.

World changing (and life changing) stuff. It all comes down to the design of residential housing. Far too often a housing development will fail planning standards because the hedgerows are too narrow (or non-existent), there are no trees or green spaces for the residents to make use of and biodiversity is lacking. Green infrastructure is becoming more and more important in our ever changing environment.

Such simple concepts like adding bee bricks into each new house – solitary bees are in fast decline – is such an easy and cost effective way to provide a habitat for a threatened species.

Leaving the hedgerows as boundaries and linear habitats or open spaces instead of ripping them out to replace with fences is also a pretty easy way to create a future proof scheme….going as far as encouraging people to maintain said hedgerow, thus providing some outdoor time and exercise – low and behold a keen gardener is born.

Green Infrastructure in a housing development (image credit Building with Nature)

Green Infrastructure in a housing development (image credit Building with Nature)

CEC has a wealth of knowledge and experience in helping our clients with green infrastructure. We understand there are a lot of hoops to jump through, surveys to do, plans to draft, legislation to follow and a budget to keep. Green infrastructure is often over-looked until the last minute – but it should be one of the first things a housing developer should consider – it will help with the overall planning process and will save a developer a considerable amount of time and hopefully far less objections, obstructions and constraints.

Coyte Farm is an example of a project we worked on recently. A housing scheme with a proposed 150 homes, the client Redrow Homes, was aware that public open spaces and preservation of the trees on site should be considered as a matter of course.

CEC undertook a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) and arboricultural assessment to determine the likely effects of the scheme. The survey findings were fed back at baseline stage to inform the design, which was revised to address tree and landscape constraints.  Our team of Landscape Architects then prepared the landscape strategy to accompany the masterplan, working with Thrive Architects, Hydrock Consultants and Barton Willmore.

Through the design process the overall layout of the scheme was modified to bring the built areas outside of the most sensitive parts of the site and preserve the majority of existing trees and hedgerows coupled with enhancements and new tree planting to achieve a stronger landscape framework in the future that will help to bed the development into its landscape.  Public open space was incorporated to provide additional screening to sensitive landscape and visual receptors.

CEC have recently assisted a number of clients with presentations at Design Review Panel, leading to positive responses.  This included Acorn Blue where we assisted with an initial design for a high quality apartment development, Waterside Holiday Resort working with Peregrine Mears Architects and Hydrock on a high quality lodge development associated with existing leisure uses, and a high profile hotel working with Kay Elliott Architects.

If you would like to discuss how we could assist on your scheme with landscape design, please contact our Landscape Architecture team on 01872 245510 or email  Case studies of work completed by CEC can be found here

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