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Landscape plan for green development

Warwickshire Rural Housing Association’s new affordable housing development, which is well underway in Wootton Wawen, is already benefitting the environment as well as local people.

The whole development has been designed to be as eco-friendly as possible, with properties meeting the Passivhaus standard for ultra-low energy homes.

Retired landscape architect, Jerry Birkbeck, was enlisted to draw up a landscape masterplan for the ground-breaking scheme to ensure the site is developed in a way which fully reflects the environmental character of the area.

The masterplan was informed by Warwickshire County Council’s Landscapes Guidelines (WLG) to enhance the distinctive local landscape.

“Wootton Wawen is part of an area of upper land around the edge of the Birmingham plateau,” said Jerry.  “This is characterised by large scale topography with occasional steep scarp slopes, large woodlands often associated with rising ground, mature hedgerows and roadside oaks, and a semi-regular pattern of medium to large sized fields.

“The WLG Management Strategy is to conserve and enhance the well-wooded character of the landscape.

“My aim was to ensure the Passivhaus scheme is sensitive to those features which characterise Wootton Wawen and to retain these within the future design.”

Key features of the plan have included planting a 2.4 hectare woodland area of broadleaf trees native to the area, along with shrubs and ground-level vegetation that extends 200 metres along the eastern boundary.  The woodland will be kept watered by draining the surface water from the development and will be managed in accordance with an approved Management and Maintenance Plan.

Jerry added: “With a housing development in an exposed location like this, the aim is to ensure that if someone is walking nearby, what they will principally see is a woodland block, just as they would traditionally have done.

“It’s about accepting that landscapes will change but absorbing that change in as thoughtful and sensitive a way as possible so the development blends in to the village.”

The development is due to be completed this summer.