landscape, ecology and open space

Ecology Strategy

Ecological surveys undertaken on site in 2017 and 2018 identified the Bushy Hill Local Wildlife Site, grasslands, ponds, watercourse, and hedgerow and tree habitats as important for a number of different mammals, amphibians and reptiles.

The Masterplan has been designed with a focus on a living landscape that benefits all. As such, habitats of importance will be retained, protected and enhanced within the scheme to provide improved habitat to protected species in the long term. The drainage strategy has been designed to complement existing ecological features to provide a green / blue corridor through the site, providing a multi-functional open space for residents and wildlife.

A lasting management regime will be established to ensure that the habitats are maintained in optimum condition for protected species. The grassland areas will be managed as wildflower meadows, with scrub patches, providing habitats that are in decline elsewhere within the existing agricultural landscape.

A lasting management regime will be established to ensure that the habitats are maintained in optimum condition for protected species. The grassland areas will be managed as wildflower meadows, with scrub patches, providing habitats that are in decline elsewhere within the existing agricultural landscape.

Proposed-ecology-strategy
Proposed ecology strategy

Landscape strategy

To the north of the Masterplan boundary, the land between the Masterplan area and Edwin’s Hall Road will be retained for agricultural use, but will be opened up for greater public access with the creation of new routes for recreational use, so that the agricultural land also contributes to the ‘parkland arc’ around the town and link the four areas of particular local importance in the landscape; Fenn Creek, Mill Hill, Bushy Hill and Saltcoats Park. Key views of these areas from the edge of the town have been protected and enhanced within the Masterplan.

The proposed landscape routes between the existing town / new development and the wider countryside are formed around the existing public footpaths, which will be retained and enhanced, or as connections between areas of particular importance in the landscape, e.g. the link between Burnham Rd and Mill Hill.

The majority of the existing trees and hedgerows will be retained and incorporated into the wider green infrastructure network. Particularly good quality trees will be retained and celebrated as the focal points of open spaces, on key views or as features in their own right. A significant quantum of new trees will also be provided to enhance existing hedgerows.

The Green Grid

The ‘Green Grid’ constitutes the spatial framework for the proposed masterplan, providing a comprehensive landscape led structure within which the proposed uses identified in the Local Plan policy can be distributed.

The ‘Green Grid’ is generated by combining the strategies for drainage, ecology and landscape and with consideration to the constraints imposed by the various utilities that run through the site, e.g. the overhead powerlines.

Proposed-green-grid
Proposed Green Grid

Open space

There is scope within the Masterplan to provide a well-connected network of multi-functional open spaces and formal provision, whilst maintaining the sensitive northern boundary. The Masterplan provides for 12.7 hectares of open space, which is significantly more than the minimum requirement of 5.8 hectares.

Play spaces have been evenly distributed throughout the Masterplan to give good access to users of all ages. Play spaces will be grouped, and form part of larger multi-functional open spaces. Natural play will be encouraged, and the use of natural materials favoured. Opportunities for informal play throughout the site will be maximized, including play trails and trim trails.

As with play spaces, allotments will be distributed through the site to give good access to all users. There are three allotment sites proposed across the site and these will be allocated on a first come first served basis. These are open to existing residents, as well as future residents of the development.

Following Stage 1 stakeholder feedback, the eastern most allotment site originally proposed to the north of the Burnham Road was moved to be adjacent to the Garden of Remembrance, with the development parcel originally proposed here removed. This will help create a more sensitive boundary to the Garden of Remembrance.

Proposed recreation strategy
Proposed recreation strategy

Formal recreational facilities

The location of the formal recreation facilities within the Masterplan has been the subject of extensive analysis. Three potential locations were considered and a proposed location has been determined. In considering potential locations for the formal recreation facilities, key principles were identified: 

  • Sufficient land area not constrained by existing site features;
  • Flat or relatively flat land;
  • Single location preferred to facilitate efficient management and avoid unnecessary duplication of associated facilities;
  • Ease of access;
  • Does not compromise the wider Masterplan.

The proposed location on the below plan satisfies all of the key location principles outlined above.

Formal recreation location options
Formal recreation location options
proposed_formal_recreation_location
Proposed formal recreation location plan