Flexible consulting helps meet tight deadlines
Now that the Howe Barracks is superfluous to defence requirements, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) elected to dispose of it. We were contracted by the Valuation Office Agency to develop a masterplan and secure outline planning permission for a residential-led site scheme.
The barracks grounds include large areas of scrub and grassland which is contiguous with similar habitats in the adjacent Chequers Wood and Old Park site of special scientific interest (SSSI). It supports species protected by European and UK legislation including bats, dormice, reptiles, badgers, and bird species with a high conservation status.
A challenging timeline eliminated the option to undertake key baseline surveys ahead of submission of the planning application. So, our ecology team worked with Canterbury City Council to complete a desk-based study and habitat condition assessment, with the understanding that a suite of bespoke surveys could be submitted at a later date, ahead of determination.
This consultative approach was key to delivering against the DIO’s challenging timeline; it also informed an ecology-led approach to masterplan design that protected the key features of the adjacent SSSI and provided new opportunities for protected species within the site. After this planning process and consent, the Howe Barracks redevelopment will deliver much needed additional housing, local facilities, and a new park for residents of east Canterbury.
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