Landscape design for people and wildlife
Barratt David Wilson Homes, one of the UK’s largest housing developers are building 2,500 new homes, two miles from Cambridge City Centre. The aim at Darwin Green is to create a new community, with a strong sense of local identity that celebrates the unique setting and qualities of the site and enables residents to live a healthy and environmentally-conscious lifestyle. Green space is a critical component of that vision, and Rural Solutions’ landscape architects have designed a landscape setting with community facilities and extensive open space at its heart.
To develop a sustainable landscape design to create a vibrant new community, with a focus on accessible green space, wildlife habitats, connectivity and community facilities.
As an urban expansion on the edge of the Green Belt, it was imperative for the development to be integrated within the wider context. This was achieved by linking new and existing pedestrian, cycle and vehicular connections while retaining key landscape elements such as trees, hedgerows and drainage ditches which also provided the opportunity to enhance and extend existing wildlife routes. Large areas of green space and three extensively landscaped green corridors within the development help to meld the new community facilities of schools, health centre, community hub and retail units into the wider landscape. A new 50-hectare country park facilitates a sustainable and healthy lifestyle, encouraging easy access to green open spaces for outdoor recreation as well as creating a buffer from the city for small neighbouring villages.
Extensive consultation enabled the landscape design team to present ideas and refine the proposals and this collaboration was an important part of developing a new thriving community which will redefine this part of the city.
Working closely with the local community and the local authority, Rural Solutions promoted an ambitious but well thought out concept for the scheme. Following the inclusion of the proposals in the draft Local Plan, we carefully monitored the plan progress and supported the council when the plan was examined by a Government Inspector.
Plans were amended to take into account the feedback received, and a planning application was submitted to the local authority.
Following ongoing liaison with Planning Officers and further justification to overcome concerns raised, the application was presented to Planning Committee with a recommendation for approval.
After careful preparation for the committee, the planning application was approved by a majority vote of the committee despite some neighbour objections.
Planning consent was achieved, the landscape designs adopted, and the development is well underway.
Sensitively designed estate-led housing
Planning achieved for high-quality village housing in a conservation area for the Belsay Estate.