Design Package for New Sustainable Resort
Integrating development with nature and achieving biodiversity net gain
Hall Wood is a new sustainable development near Looe of fifteen luxury holiday lodges in a beautiful wooded valley. The site sits within an area of ancient woodland and the developer was keen to make the most of its tranquil location whilst minimising any environmental impact. CEC’s combined ecology, arboriculture and landscape architecture skills were used together to secure planning permission and enhance the local landscape and ecosystem.
Working within natural constraints
Having purchased a valley woodland site near Looe, our client saw the potential of the existing conifer plantation to become native woodland again with holiday lodges built on the steep south facing slopes. The resort is planning to run on renewable energy and will eventually incorporate a forestry school and a multi-purpose visitors’ centre.
The challenges for this development are also its natural assets. The site is a mixture of commercial conifer plantation on its slopes and ancient woodland in the valley bottom. It also sits within the Looe and Seton Valleys Area of Great Landscape Value. Thanks to the presence of broad-leaved trees and healthy streams, it is home to many protected species including bats, otters and dormice.
Understanding the client’s needs
These constraints were taken on board during design development, with Arco2 Architects developing a light touch solution of buildings raised above ground and designed to sit within the forest landscape. The client’s vision was for users of the lodges to look into tree canopies and through the forest, so CEC needed to factor in the preservation of as many trees as possible in its tree management plan.
Delivering the vision for planning
CEC undertook a suite of detailed ecological surveys for the planning submission. Findings from these surveys were brought together in a Woodland, Landscape and Ecological Management plan for the site, setting out the vision and means to achieve a substantial biodiversity gain. CEC’s landscape team provided a Landscape and Visual Impact Appraisal. They also prepared landscape details for the lodge environment and plans for a new access track.
Planning permission for this sensitive site was achieved with minimal objections from local residents.Feedback:
Alex King, Hall Wood Holiday Ltd
“For a project which prioritises preservation of habitats and environmental sensitivity CEC were the obvious choice, not only due to their ability to handle all aspects of the required ecological, arboricultural and landscape assessments under one roof, but also their working relationship with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
This was a complex project which required constant multi-discipline collaboration, but CEC managed the bulk of the application effectively, ultimately resulting in a positive planning decision.”