The Hellingly Community Park Trust and Persimmon Homes’ Hellingly Park development was successful at the 2015 ceremony of the prestigious Sussex Heritage Awards, scooping the ‘Highly Commended’ accolade in the Landscape and Gardens category.
The judges commented, “Hellingly Community Park is an impressive community project driven by the residents, the Parish Council and the District Council working with the developer. It is still in the early stages but there is sufficiently developed community use already e.g. youth schemes and sporting activity. An exemplar of the type of developer involvement to be encouraged.”
Jaquelin Clay, managing director of JFA Environmental Planning and landscape architect on the project, commented, “We are thrilled that the development has gained recognition at such a prestigious event. At JFA, we have been involved with the project since 2006, and have enjoyed being a part of the development from the early stages; bringing nature to the heart of its design and helping to rejuvenate the former hospital grounds, creating a useable and sustainable site for Hellingly’s local community.”
JFA Environmental Planning’s integrated landscape and ecology teams worked closely with Persimmon Homes and Hellingly Community Park Trust to create a local park with a focus on sustainability. Many sustainable measures were included; a stream and balancing pond were created, and a mitigation strategy implemented for the four bat species that were present at the site. Native planting for a SUDs scheme, a reptile receptor site and a wildflower meadow were introduced, whilst local craftsman, David Lucas, Woodland Centre Ltd, was used in the production of street furniture. David Lucas was previously involved in the design of furniture at Wakehurst Place.
A new financial contribution, designed to offset the impact of increased recreational pressures, is being proposed for developments located within 6km of internationally protected areas in Medway.
The Medway Estuary and Marshes are specially protected as a RAMSAR, SPA and SSSI1 which are of international, European and national importance for their bird interests. However, bird populations within these areas are declining and recent studies have found recreation to be a contributing factor*.
The contribution is required as an interim approach because the impact from increased recreational pressure is considered likely to significantly affect birds using the protected areas. Although suitable alternative natural green space (SANG) may reduce additional pressure during the week, it cannot replace coastal habitats and residents may still use these protected areas at the weekend. A strategic solution is therefore required.
Natural England are working with Swale Borough Council and other Local Councils in Kent to agree an interim approach to enable development to proceed. This will include a contribution likely to apply for developments over a threshold size to fund strategic measures.
JFA Environmental Planning will be examining at the approaches taken in other areas regarding this issue. Watch this space for further articles in the upcoming months.
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