Ensuring Ecology is at the Heart of Garden Village Proposals
The Dissington Estate sits at the edge of Ponteland, Northumberland and covers over 400 hectares of mixed farmland and woodland with the River Pont lying to the south. The landowners Lugano Developments Ltd aim to transform this area into a Garden Village, one of a number of select mixed use developments whose primary objective is to provide a sustainable solution to the national housing crisis. This flagship scheme is headed up by the Rt. Hon. Prince Charles.
The Dissington Garden village proposes to build 2,000 new homes, a primary school, GP surgery, sports, shopping, small business and leisure facilities within a network of greenspace incorporating wildlife and amenity features, green corridors, cycle and walkways, SUDs in an environmentally conscious sustainable design. It is intended that this would be a flagship model for sustainable new design and build schemes.
EcoNorth was asked to join the project team as the project ecologist and initially undertake a wide range of protected species surveys including bats, badger, otter, water vole, red squirrel, great crested newt, wintering and breeding birds, as well as habitat surveys. Once all the data had been collated and reported EcoNorth were further commissioned to author the Ecological & Ornithological Chapters for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which supported the outline planning application for the Garden Village Proposal.
Further input was required in terms of undertaking consultation with a number of key stakeholders and interest groups, as well as Statutory Agencies such as Natural England and the Environment Agency. The purpose of which was to satisfy their concerns regarding the scheme ensuring that ecology was at the forefront of its design. This resulted in wide areas of undeveloped land and habitat creation proposals across the site to protect the existing locations of interest but also to allow colonisation and movement of valuable wildlife, such as red squirrel and bird species, through the site.
Additional ecological consultancy services provided included that of Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) whilst archaeological surveys were undertaken to ensure that no infringement of protected species legislation occurred e.g. working close to badger setts. This also included input into Water Framework Directive Assessment of the scheme (As part of the Garden Village Project a Flood Alleviation Scheme is proposed for the River Pont ).
EcoNorth provided a range of ecological surveys to their client against a very tight schedule for completion on time and within budget. This allowed for a comprehensive assessment of the development proposals in terms of ecological impact and more importantly allowed the client to tailor their plans for the site to ensure that there was space for wildlife, and that important areas were avoided and buffered from the main development areas. As the site is within a sensitive area and several protected species are present our pragmatic and diplomatic approach, backed up by detailed knowledge of the site and species present enabled us to provide an acceptable solution welcomed by both the client and majority of consultees.
|Project Start & End Date||2012 – ongoing|
|Client||Lugano Developments Ltd|
“EcoNorth have provided an exemplary service in supporting the progression of the Dissington Garden Village planning application, and continue to support the project. Their approach has been to be innovative, problem solving, and delivery driven with a flare and enthusiasm that has enabled us to meet the challenges and timescales for the project. They are a delight to work with and we look forward to continuing to do so on the Garden Village and other projects in the future.” Sandra Manson, Director, wyg