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Case Study: Viking Way, Congleton

27 Jul 2021

Discover how we harnessed expert insight and close collaboration for great success.

Coming Together to Achieve the Perfect Balancing Act

Integrating biodiversity and landscape character considerations with client goals and Local Planning Authority objectives can be a complex and delicate process. Luckily, the talented TG team specialises in coming together to accomplish the perfect balancing act (whatever challenges are – quite literally – thrown in our path!).

Discover how we enabled a major land promotion client to get the green light for an ambitious new scheme through expert insight and close collaboration.

The Client

Richborough Estates is a strategic land developer working on residential sites nationwide.

Established in 2003 – and with a reputation for identifying and preparing sites for sustainable, people-centric development – the company is a regular client of the wider Tyler Grange team.

Supplying developers with ‘oven-ready’ plots, Richborough Estates prides itself on helping developers speed up the process of creating places for new homes.

plot-of-land

The Project

Preparing for a mixed-use scheme encompassing residential, employment and commercial floor space, Richborough Estates needed specialist ecology and landscape support to secure planning permission for the site.

The 23.5-hectare plot in Congleton, Cheshire, presented several landscape, biodiversity, drainage and infrastructure challenges to overcome before submitting an outline application for a mixed-use development.

The challenge

The critical challenge for this particular project was clear: how could we respond positively to the visual character of the landscape and achieve a biodiversity net gain in the face of several significant obstacles, whilst still delivering the commercial requirements?

And, further to this, how could we support the client to overcome post-submission challenges posed by consultees and stakeholders?

Fortunately, when it comes to the natural world, even the prickliest puzzle is no match for Team TG.

viking-way

How could we maintain the beautiful scenery whilst keeping our client's stakeholders happy?

A blank canvas, a landscaper’s dream…

vikings-way

A big task for many but when we act as a collective mind, anything is possible.

A quest for biodiversity net gain...

Ecology

Achieving a biodiversity net gain (BNG) is fast becoming a compulsory part of the planning progress. To increase ‘value’ of habitats and leave the site in a more biodiverse state than they found it, Richborough Estates needed specialist support and consultancy from our experts.

We wanted to achieve a biodiversity net gain within the boundary of the plot rather than off-site.

Initially, this posed a significant challenge.

After the request for a 50-metre buffer along a significant river corridor next to the site, we seized the opportunity to use this extra land to our advantage.

From an ecological perspective, it was time to roll up our sleeves and get creative to meet the site’s biodiversity needs and hatch plans that aligned with its Green Infrastructure strategy, too.

TG’s ecology team has a deep understanding of how the biodiversity metric works, so we can pick appropriate habitats that will be highly valuable for a site and work in harmony with public open space.

Part of the development site comprised a greenway, which was integral to linkages off-site and the delivery of the allocation, which we needed to keep open and accessible to the public while making sure it posed no conflict to habitats or people.

A mosaic of grass, scrub and ponds would score highly and align perfectly with Green Infrastructure requirements.

Our team worked closely with the Local Planning Authority’s ecologist to iron out the finer details of the biodiversity metric to keep it proportionate and make sure it was correctly applied.

Collaborating closely with the Local Authority, as well as our in-house landscape team, we devised a winning solution that added value to the natural world, the client’s objectives, and end users’ experiences of the site.

fields

Landscape planning

Landscape planning was an integral part of this project and had to be delicately balanced with its ecological considerations.

Despite being an allocated site located within the ‘Congleton Urban Area’, the Local Planning Authority requested careful consideration and assessment of potential impacts of the development upon the undulating pastoral landscape and views from a public footpath across the River Dane Valley.

A comprehensive Green Infrastructure (GI) strategy was formulated, creating distinct character areas and design themes, to ensure that the proposed development responded to the existing site features and created a pleasant environment with a real sense of place.

As a result of the landscape and ecologically led scheme, the landscape and visual impacts predicted were deemed to be limited and localised.

In collaboration with the project master planner (Pegasus), a specific design code for the site was also assembled to control the standards of the proposed development, and our landscape team had to work closely with the Local Planning Authority’s landscape Officer to achieve a solution that ticked all the boxes.

Our approach

Every successful development involves a level of compromise, and this particular project highlights the intrinsic value of the collaborative approach embedded in each and every project we touch.

Ecologists and landscape architects naturally have different priorities, yet when we take a seamless, integrated approach, our primary goal is achieving the client’s objectives in a way that adds bundles of value to people and nature.

We only work on projects that align with our core values, and the Congleton development was no exception. So, our ecologists and landscape planners worked closely and considerately internally and externally with the Local Planning Authority representatives to create a resolution everyone could get behind.

While we’re not in the same office at the moment (sigh), we applied the same level of collaboration virtually to reach a cohesive Green Infrastructure strategy that met all of the client’s needs.

This unified approach enables us to address and resolve challenges quickly and effectively in true TG-style.

Thanks to our unwavering values and determination to work together to help great projects succeed, our clients experience major gains at every stage of the planning process when they work with us. And we often have a lot of fun along the way!

fields-construction

The outcome

Richborough Estates was thrilled with our work on this project, declaring that they simply wouldn’t have been able to get the permissions they needed without our inputs.

We successfully achieved biodiversity net gains, respected the Local Planning Authority’s goals and made the site far more marketable for Richborough Estates.

Future developers will be free from all of the red tape surrounding biodiversity, leaving our client with a highly appealing plot to take to market and maximising the site’s value from a financial and environmental perspective.

That’s a landslide victory in our book!

Why not check out our full plans for Viking Way, Congleton here?

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