Ecosulis
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Case Studies

Project Name:
Wichelstowe Development
Client:
Swindon Borough Council and Taylor Wimpey Developments
Year:
Jan 01, 2009
Keywords:
Wichelstowe, Greenfield development, green infrastructure
Summary:
The Wichelstowe development site comprises 300ha of Greenfield land, which supports a range of important habitats and species including historically and ...

The Wichelstowe development site comprises 300ha of Greenfield land, which supports a range of important habitats and species including historically and ecologically important hedgerows, great crested newts, water vole and badgers.  The site is proposed for development consisting of 4500 residential units, three schools, business parks, town centre, a country park and associated infrastructure.  Greenfield development at this scale clearly presents a number of challenges, which Ecosulis was appointed to resolve.

 

Key Challenges

Ecosulis Solutions

Large, complex, Greenfield development

Collaborative approach to project with ongoing discussion and meetings with discipline heads.

Detailed input to design to ensure Green Infrastructure principles incorporated. 

Balanced approach to ecology with consideration of other key drivers such as developable footprint, landscape, hydrology, infrastructure etc.

High presence of great crested newts and other protected species

Robust, timely and nationally recognised survey field team and data collation.

Experienced ecological project managers providing pragmatic recommendations and mitigation strategies. 

Significant previous experience of similar issues. 

Integrating needs of protected species into overall project design and construction

Strong public opposition

Attendance at Public Exhibitions and promotion of project objectives with respect to biodiversity

Strong opposition from nature conservation organisations

Ability to justify assessments, provide well thought out rationale for proposals and clear intention to provide biodiversity gain.

Technical representation during Appeal Inquiry and Examination in Public

Programme delays as a result of economic downturn

Presence of ecologist at monthly design meetings ensured the timing implications that protected species pose were understood and accounted for in programme reviews. 

Access to senior project manager and rapid mobilisation of Ecological Clerks of Works ensured that delays during construction were minimised

Outcome: Ecosulis’s strategic and integrated approach at the design stage, outlined above, facilitated the granting of outline planning permission in 2005 and a number of subsequent reserved matters permission.  Our understanding of the site and rapid mobilisation has also ensured that delays to construction works have been avoided.

Ecosulis’s approach to the design of Wichelstowe was cited as a successful example in demonstrating the value of carrying out ecological surveys and building any mitigation or compensation necessary into the design of the scheme well in advance of the development in the Governments "Planning for Biodiversity and Geological Conservation - A Guide to Good Practice (March 2006)". 

 

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