Rural Solutions were commissioned to provide landscape architectural consultancy services, including landscape masterplan, management plan and input into an Environmental Statement, to support an outline planning application for phases 2 and 3 of a distinctive housing extension located to the north-west of Cambridge City Centre.  

Darwin Green 2 & 3 is a proposed urban extension, allocated as part of Cambridge City’s recently adopted Local Plan and previously formed part of the wider Green Belt setting. The application comprises of circa 1,000 homes supported by extensive community facilities and infrastructure. Community facilities will include a primary and secondary school, community center and new Country Park which extends to approximately 50 hectares.  

The development will extend and complete this new quarter of the city and will redefine the extent of settlement to Cambridge. The proposed development area will be defined to the north and west by a new Country Park which will be delivered within the Green Belt. The Country Park will ensure the continued separation of the city from the neighbouring villages of Girton and Histon & Impington, whilst providing a major open space asset for new and existing residents.   

The challenge for Rural Solutions landscape team has been to ensure a new mixed-use development responds positively to the new Country Park setting and facilitates a more sustainable and healthier lifestyle for new and existing local residents, encouraging easy access to green open spaces. This has been achieved through establishing three extensively landscaped green corridors, covering approximately 5 hectares within the development which connect into the Country Park, ensuring safe pedestrian and cycle access is provided, whilst protecting and encouraging new and existing ecology networks.  

The Country Park integrates extensive formal and informal play plus recreational facilities through new youth and children’s play areas, bike track, skate park and areas of wide-open green space to support passive recreation. The Park promotes a varied landscape character, responding to existing retained vegetation and Tree Preservation Orders, ecological habitat constraints and requirements for extensive sustainable urban drainage features. The nearby location of the A14 will be mitigated through the establishment of new earth mounding which will provide a backdrop to the County Park and provide a unique opportunity to redefine the edge of the City.   

This application represents the second phase of the wider Darwin Green development located between Huntington Road and Histon Road. Outline consent for Darwin Green 1 was granted in 2013, within which detailed planning applications are now being progressed and construction is underway.