The best Mixed-Use Development accolade at the 2019 Planning & Placemaking Awards has been given to lconbury Weald, a major landscape-led development in Cambridgeshire.
Held at Royal Institute of British Architects, London in June 2019 in association with Planning Magazine, the annual awards recognise excellence in planning-related activities such as placemaking, urban design, economic development, housing and regeneration.
Judges praised the winning entry, led by masterplanners and architects JTP on behalf of Urban and Civic, planning consultancy David Lock Associates, development and infrastructure consultants PBA, now part of Stantec, and landscape architects and ecologists, Bradley Murphy Design (BMD), as a “great example of a master developed approach, producing a great long-term placemaking strategy.”
A largely brownfield site, the former RAF airfield at Alconbury was bought by master developer Urban & Civic in 2009. Over the next 20 years, their vision is to transform the 1425-acre site into Alconbury Weald; a unique and inspiring place for working, living, learning and leisure.
Urban & Civic has been keen to create a sense of arrival and unique character for Alconbury Weald from day one; encompassing high-quality homes, historically respectful layouts, natural landscaping and inspiring civic buildings. Once complete, it will consist of 5000 homes, an employment Enterprise Campus, schools, sustainable transport links, energy infrastructure and community facilities – integrated with more than 700 acres of green space at its heart.
Tim Leathes, Development Director at Urban & Civic, said:
“This award recognises our vision and commitment to transform Alconbury Weald into a truly unique and outstanding place to live and work.”
“As a master developer, quality placemaking and design is at the very core of our philosophy; we know getting this right is essential when creating major new communities and embedding them within their local environment.
“We’re very pleased that our work so far, delivered with a strong design team and good relationships with key partners, has been recognised with this prestigious planning award.”
Graeme Phillips, Partner leading the project at JTP, said:
“We are so proud that Alconbury Weald has been recognised as an exemplar mixed-use neighbourhood in the Planning & Placemaking Awards. Our innovative Staged Placemaking strategy and robust Design Code has established a real sense of place within the neighbourhood already, and we look forward to seeing the vision be delivered over the next 20 years.”
BMD has been solely responsible for all the landscape architecture, soil science, arboriculture and ecology at Alconbury Weald since being commissioned back in 2012. Inspired by the site’s rich aerospace history, the landscape vision centres on creating ‘Green Runways – providing a lift off for nature’. Mirroring the former military taxiways and runway, they are designed to bring the new community together; connecting the site to surrounding grasslands, water and ancient woodlands.
After outline consent was granted in 2014, BMD has worked collaboratively with Urban & Civic, JTP and the wider technical team to prepare detailed landscape designs for delivery of the initial Key Phases. This included prioritising the public realm such as a new communal square and woodland ‘play glades’ to give residents, now and in the future, an exciting taste of what is to come.
Ryan Murphy, Director of Bradley Murphy Design (BMD), said:
“Winning this award is testament to the importance and value of collaboration in landscape architecture. Alconbury Weald is the epitome of a landscape-led masterplan and is arguably one of the best examples of residential placemaking in the UK where landscape and ecology have genuinely been championed by a developer from the outset.”