A New Village for the South Downs
CALA Homes (Thames) Ltd
OSP Architecture, RGP Engineers, Ethos Ecology, Ruskins Tree Care
Applying Green Infrastructure principles to shape a modern development of new homes and associated community infrastructure in the historic village of Stroud.
Appointed by CALA (Thames) Homes, we provided landscape and visual assessment input and landscape architectural support to develop the site layout from the initial site promotion/allocation stage through to a successful detailed planning decision.
Given the significance of the development, several stakeholders were consulted to formulate a brief for the site. This included contributing to the Parish’s village design statement, attendance at two design review panels, and proactive workshops with the South Downs Planning Team. A key criterion for the masterplan was the implementation of Ecosystem Services (Green Infrastructure) that underpin the emerging Local Plan policies for the South Downs National Park and allocation of sites.
This helped to shape the masterplan which included:
- Improvements to the existing watercourse habitat creating a natural edge to the Village Green;
- Provision for planted swales and bio-retention ponds to the streetscape to provide high value for pollinators;
- A consistent street frontage to complement the adjoining Victorian terrace character; and
- A priority given to native planting to reinforce the rural character and help retain long distance views over the Downs.
The success of the scheme has not only been the ability to integrate new housing into the existing landscape setting but also for it to address the lack of a ‘village centre’. The scheme created a community hub building and associated village green, helping to provide a much-needed destination set within the heart of the village. It also tied in with wider improvements to the surrounding footpath network and community infrastructure including provision for a future wetland walk connection to the local pub via a nature reserve and improved drop-off facilities for the nearby primary school.
We worked closely with the planning team at CALA, OSP architecture along with the wider consultant design team to ensure that the heritage, drainage, ecology and arboricultural response informed the landscape proposals.