Oxford City Council have recently granted planning consent to Oxford University Developments for the demolition of the existing 1970’s built graduate accommodation at Court Place Gardens and the creation of 71 new two and three bedroom houses for graduate students and their families. We were instructed to provide arboricultural support to the project through the design and planning application stages and once planning was granted, to continue to provide that support to the project team as the construction commences.
Court Place Gardens is the former manor house to Iffley Manor benefits from an exceptionally high quality garden with a mature treescape dating from the 19th Century, much of which has fallen into disuse as the wider usage of the site changed. A key challenge to the site was the retention of as many of the mature trees as possible, while ensuring sufficient space for the new development to settle in to the landscape without a significant impact. This has been achieved though close collaboration with the project architects (FJMT) and landscape architects. During the design of the site, Oxford City Council adopted a new Local Plan, part of which introduced a requirement for a canopy cover assessment. The scale and size of the scheme meant that where tree retention was not feasible, the project had to demonstrate the new plantings would, over time and once established, provide the same level of canopy cover as would have been on site had the project not taken place. We were required to develop a new model that would not only allow for an assessment of the impact of tree loss in terms of canopy cover but also provided an indiciative forecast of what future canopy on the site might be based on the existing and new planting schemes. This model was accepted as being robust and providing the level of detail required for planning.
Having obtained planning consent, we have now been instructed by the main works contractor (Feltham Construction) to continue to provide support to the project, ensuring that not only are the retained trees protected from the outset, but also to provide a monitoring service to ensure that the protection measure remain in place and fit for purpose throughout the construction phase. Continued collaboration with the project team is critical, and in particular with the engineering consultants (Price and Myers) due to the extent of below ground works that are required to install all the facilities that are required in modern homes.
This has been an exemplar project for us to have worked on as everyone involved, from the client side through the technical professionals and the delivery team genuinely have a shared vision for this site which sees the mature treescape nurtured and protected so that it continues to provide the plethora of benefits to future occupants of the properties.
Trees, Structures and Development
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