Blackburn Cathedral, Blackburn

Following an invited competition, Planit-IE was selected by the Blackburn Cathedral Quarter Partnership, to lead the masterplanning and public realm design of a new mixed-use development. The partnership is a joint venture between Maple Grove Developments; Blackburn with Darwin Borough Council and the Church Commissioners. The principal of the scheme places the Cathedral back at the heart of Blackburn’s communities, by opening up its precincts, introducing a series of new ‘edge buildings’ and the formation of a new square and gardens.

The uses consist of new offices, a hotel and restaurant, alongside the newly created ‘Clergy Court’ – a discrete, linked series of townhouses and apartments for Cathedral staff and their families surrounding a cloister garden. As part of the overall project, the Cathedral crypt has been remodeled and a new café, Northcote run by East Lancashire’s Michelin-starred celebrity chef Nigel Haworth, now front onto the square.

With the opening of the first ‘Urban Room’ – a product of the Farrell Review – encouraging the public to engage with the built environment, Blackburn and the Cathedral Quarter is set to become a real destination of the North.

Lotmead Villages, Swindon

Unable to meet its development needs wholly within the existing urban areas, Swindon is breaking the concrete collar that has long constrained the town’s expansion. Development has been tightly bound by the A419 dual carriageway, but the hard suburban edge is set to be breached through an ambitious growth agenda that includes five strategic urban extensions. Planit’s proposals for Lotmead Villages form the first of these, and one of the UK’s largest urban extensions.

A scattering of attractive villages beyond the grip of the A491 boundary formed the starting point for our long-term vision to achieve balanced and inclusive growth. It was these communities that prompted the question ‘What makes a good village?’

We undertook comprehensive research to determine how these conurbations embraced the distinctive assets of the wider rural landscape setting, to identify their unique characteristics and examine their sense of place. The same query was posed within a national and international context, drawing on best practice examples of Urban Design and placemaking across the UK and Europe to draw out common threads. Our conclusions of the Townscape and Precedent Study set out the elements that combine to create a place where people aspire to live, and consequently form the design cues for the Lotmead Villages proposals.

Our research, evidence-based methodology formed the starting point for the two village concept. Each village has its own local centre and a Primary School, and collectively they provide 2,600 homes. We introduced focal points for activity, a walkable (and cycle friendly) network of streets and connections to existing settlement. The proposals were influenced by the landscape context, incorporate innovative and sustainable design, whilst creating distinctive neighbourhoods.

Lotmead Villages are based on the site of an existing farm and pick-your-own business. The business cluster and a Scheduled Ancient Monument created a logical star point for the spatial organization of the village set within a strong rural landscape. A contemporary approach was taken to the creation of Lower Lotmead, utilising best practice urban design principles to create a sensitive urban/rural transition. The proposals have been embraced by the local stakeholders, and are acknowledged as fundamental to supporting the economic growth of Swindon and its sub regional context.

PENRHOS, ANGLESEY

A bold plan to create a resort of national significance and with it a sustainable economic legacy for the island of Anglesey, Penrhos Leisure Village centres around a vast tract of coastline and within it, a collection of refurbished former estate buildings.

Facilities include 300 new homes; 700 lodges and cottages; indoor sports areas; an enclosed subtropical waterpark and shops selling local island produce, plus a number of high quality walking and cycle routes set within the fabric of the Penrhos Coastal Park.

Northwich Meadows, Northwich

A new urban meadow is being created within the Dane Valley Area of Special Landscape Value. Northwich Meadows forms part of a comprehensive network of greenspaces, linking to the existing Leftwich Meadows and semi-natural open space at Rudheath, with additional potential for a bridge link across the River Dane.

Benefits to the community will be considerable, improving access to the countryside and providing open space, low key visitor facilities, riverside walks and ecological areas. A new neighbourhood of around 250 dwellings will be created beyond the floodplain in conjunction with Northwich Meadows. Residential development has been sensitively designed to meet local demand and affordability requirements. Creation of a village character has been informed by townscape analysis of areas of local heritage value to ensure a sense of place and local distinctiveness throughout the scheme.

DISCOVERY PARK, SANDWICH

Discovery Park is an Enterprise Zone located in Sandwich, Kent. Planit IE were appointed as Masterplanner and Landscape Architect to develop proposals to make the transition from leading Pharmaceutical Research Facility to development opportunity site that will benefit the town of Sandwich as well as the site based businesses and residents.

For decades the site has been a pioneer of cutting edge pharmaceutical research and discovery. Our vision for Discovery Park is to lead again, as an exemplar of an integrated mixed-use community of global importance. Discovery Park will set a new benchmark for integrated and sustainable mixed-use development and in turn create new opportunities for Sandwich, its economy and the wider community.

LIVERPOOL WATERS, LIVERPOOL

Initially appointed in 2005 to prepare public realm design guidance for the £5.5 billion regeneration of 120Ha of Liverpool’s Northern Docks, we have since produced a variety of key documents that will shape this new City District. Amongst them is the Building Characterisation and Precedents Study (BCPS) – examining not just the project proposals but its world-wide ambitions and the very DNA of the city itself.

One of the largest approvals within a World Heritage Site anywhere in the world, our work has set the bar for the Liverpool Waters project and, in turn, for the northward growth of the city centre over the next 30 years.

  • Before-Liverpool Waters Masterplan
    After-Liverpool Waters Masterplan
    OutlineLiverpool Waters MasterplanEmerging

 

Circle Square

Occupying central Manchester’s former BBC site, this new neighbourhood is strategically located on Corridor Manchester’s Oxford Road to actively promote alliances; capitalising on the value of proximity to stimulate advancement. Circle Square will enable people to converge to create, work and live in an environment that attracts and fosters talented people. Designed to promote collaboration, but also delivered through collaboration, the development is being realised via a partnership between commercially-focused Bruntwood and residential specialist Select Property Group.

The quality of the ‘place’ is set at the heart of Planit-IE and Feilden Clegg Bradley’s joint masterplan. The scheme combines people, location, activity, cultural richness, microclimate and human-scale to form the setting for a diverse and thriving new community. A Place Making Strategy guides proposals that draw on the site’s history to reintroduce its urban grain and reconnect the site to the city, whilst setting an ambitious and innovative vision for the future.

The development surrounds and focuses on a key central space at its epicenter, illustrated by CGIs produced by Virtual Planit. The central ‘green’ is a flexible external area for relaxation, recreation and events throughout the seasons, that provides a canvas of opportunity to bring people together.

 

Princes Dock Neighbourhood Plan, Liverpool

Princes Dock is a historic dock, located north of the Pier Head and the Three Graces, adjacent to the River Mersey and the central business district of Liverpool City Centre. Its neighbourhood masterplan is the first to come forward as part of the Liverpool Waters planning permission.

The Princes Dock Neighbourhood Masterplan is the result of 12 months consultation involving a consortium of developers, designers and local stakeholders. A condition of the original Liverpool Waters outline consent, the masterplan aims to create a comprehensive, yet flexible approach to the future development of Princes Dock. This is a dynamic document proposes an approach to development within Princes Dock at a point in time whilst retaining the ability to respond to any future contextual challenges or influences.

The Neighbourhood Masterplan creates a spatial framework for future development within the dock. The design principles and guidance within the document are not a substitute for design talent and do not impose a particular architectural style, however it does set a baseline of minimum requirements for future development. New development is expected to comply with the guidance. Where a proposal does not, then substantial justification for deviation from the guidance will be required to explain, how or why it differs and what additional spatial, environmental or community benefits that may bring.

Several buildings already existing within the dock boundaries, and some buildings have planning permission and are due to start on site, therefore the masterplan document presents proposals for the remaining developable areas and how they should relate to the existing development, the wider city and future Liverpool Waters neighbourhoods to the north of the site. The structure of this document follows that mix of existing, consented, emerging and future proposals which make up the status of Princes Dock.

FIRST STREET, MANCHESTER

First Street is rapidly becoming Manchester’s most vibrant new neighbourhood, providing a compelling blend of culture, leisure, retail and office space. This includes the 208-bed INNSIDE hotel, Vita’s 279-room luxury student accommodation, 700-space Q-Park, 180,000sq ft Number One office and Manchester’s new cultural venue, HOME. These combine to form the first phase of ASK Development’s £500m scheme, a new high quality destination within the city.

The development wraps around Tony Wilson Place at the heart of the scheme. This square provides a flexible performance platform for large events, bordered by elongated timber seating steps, whilst a series of lively streets link a genuinely public realm to surrounding areas.

Planit carried out the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment for ASK Developments’s overall masterplan, with verified views and CGIs produced by our in-house team Virtual Planit. We developed detailed public realm designs for First Street North, prior to being novated to Carillion.

The successful completion of First Street North coincided with acquisition of the site by European Investor Patrizia. The new owner swiftly submitted a planning application for a further 219,600sq ft office, appointing Planit-IE as the Landscape Architect for the associated public realm and internal atria garden spaces.

Linen Quarter Vision, Belfast

Planit-IE has been working towards the vision for a significant Conservation Area within Belfast City Centre – the Linen Quarter. The Quarter represents an important area of growth within the City Centre, building on impressive historic built form which is becoming the home for a large number of offices, supported by the introduction of a number of exciting new bars, cafes and hotels. The quarter also represents a key point of arrival for tourists, visitors, city workers and locals – setting the need to guide new development sites and control the reuse of historic buildings towards a common vision for the Quarter which also meets the aspirations of the wider Belfast City Centre.

The Linen Quarter Vision and Guidance document now forms a significant piece of guidance for the City Council to assess development proposals against the vision for the area. The work assesses how to best use the Conservation Area’s current qualities; exploring ways to consolidate and enhance its role as the premier office destination within Belfast and continue to provide a strong sense of arrival. The document also introduces new public spaces; redefines streets and promotes a different street hierarchy; and enhances the area’s important built heritage, and provides guidance relating to new buildings and their associated public realm.

The document is available to view online at: http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/buildingcontrol-environment/regeneration/linenquarter.aspx