The team also had a number of obstacles to overcome, including level changes of 20 metres across the site, a large number of existing features that had to be preserved (including reservoirs, trees protected by TPOs, species-rich hedgerows and wildlife habitats), very tight timescales and a large group of stakeholders that all needed to agree in order for designs to progress. The scheme also had to be capable of phasing to complement early site occupation and sufficiently flexible to respond to changing future requirements.
The process began with an initial landscape appraisal followed by further studies and site visits. This culminated in a series of site analysis/conceptual landscape development plans which identified the main constraints and opportunities, as well as key zones for development. It also identified the potential for integrated green space linkages and a green infrastructure framework to facilitate screening, enclosure and character to ensure the development responded sensitively to its environment.
A scoping report was carried out based upon these initial assessments and further detailed onsite and desk study work. It identified constraints that required further study, and informed the design process for the development to identify appropriate mitigation measures. Following this process, a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) was prepared by One’s team to assess the landscape and visual effects of the proposed development.
A detailed landscape masterplan was developed in collaboration with the architectural masterplanners, Associated Architects, and supported by a detailed landscape strategy. The main design objectives were to:
- Create a new, statement gateway to Worcester and the University campus
- Maximise the outstanding panoramic views of Worcester’s key landmarks
- Ensure a high quality landscape setting which is embedded with a clear, understandable and consistent range of landscape typologies to define key uses and establish areas
- Establish a multi-functional ‘green’ framework which integrates and links all the landscape, ecological, drainage and topographical assets
- Retain all existing trees and hedgerows wherever possible
- Have a site specific response to the natural topography of the site and creative ground modelling, ensuring buildings are strategically located to minimise the visual impact of the development on surrounding residents and maintain a green vegetated skyline
- Provide a substantial 30-60m landscape buffer to protect the local residential and historic setting
- Enhance access and connectivity with links between public rights of way and external footpaths, enabling easy access to the open countryside beyond
- Re-establishing orchards as historic landscape features, the remnants of which remain onsite but have been lost over the last 50 years
In addition to creating the landscape masterplan, One was also involved in the detailed landscape design for a new medical centre for St John’s House Surgery, which is the first building to be built as part of the development and stands at a critical location at the gateway to the site. This design was submitted for detailed planning approval alongside the outline submission for the entire site.