Homes England – Sustainability Appraisal & Strategy Work

Heathlands Garden Settlement is a proposed new community for up to 5,000 new homes, 3-form entry primary schools, a 47ha Country Park, a district centre and two location centres, and a 5ha employment campus. It has over 150ha of multifunctional green and blue infrastructure.

Brought in to work alongside our planners and designers, Maidstone Borough Council and Homes England (a joint venture), our Sustainable Value team was tasked with developing a long-term delivery strategy for the site to that highlights the opportunities to tackle health equality and climate change. Both clients were keen to demonstrate how such a significant site could stand apart from competitors and present a strong opportunity for change within a local authority with strong net zero ambitions.

The Climate Change, Health & Wellbeing strategy prepared by our team outlines the incremental steps required to deliver a sustainable, net-zero carbon development which promotes healthy lifestyles and considers the interrelationship between environmental outcomes. Often daunted by the scale of the challenge, our clients appreciated the opportunity to apply the global challenge within their local context and see how sometimes even the smallest decisions and design moves can accrue to deliver major, tangible and measurable impact site wide, if considered and embedded from these early stages.

The strategy demonstrates how the development would be net operationally zero carbon, as well as adaptable and resilient to climate change on science-based climate forecasts. Outlining key principles the development would adhere to from inception through to operation, our strategy is flexible and sufficiently high level in these early site promotion stages, to ensure that changes can be made along the project’s lifecycle, should policy, lifestyles, technologies, etc. change over its potential delivery timeframe of 10-15 years.

The strategy also recognises the increasing need to facilitate health-oriented planning and development, through the application of healthy design principles tailored to the context of the local area. Working closely with our Masterplanning colleagues in an iterative design process, these principles have been applied and tested across the proposals to ensure the proposals effectively influence the future lifestyle of those living and working there.

Alongside the planning strategy formulation, our Sustainable Value team also reviewed the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) submitted alongside the Local Plan for Maidstone. Assessing the proposed planning policies to guide development, the SA is a core document for the promotion of strategic land interests during the plan-making process. Our review was undertaken for regulatory compliance, but also on a site-specific level, to identify how the proposed development can promote and extend sustainable outcomes and ambitions apparent within it.

Click to view the list of services provided: