ASH carried out landscape and visual assessment masterplanning and landscape design for the Broxden Mixed Use Development outside Perth
Recent development, spreading out westwards from Perth, has put pressure on traditional land use and there is evidence that farming (Broxden Farm, now demolished) has been largely abandoned in favour of commercial development (Travelodge and Harvester/ McDonalds food outlets) and the “Park and Ride” at the west end of the site. As a consequence, the Broxden site is now an “urban fringe” landscape in a state of transition.
ASH were engaged by Savills to carry out a landscape and visual assessment to support a mixed-use planning application and to feed into the masterplan, which was subsequently developed in conjunction with Yeoman McAlister, Architects.
Landscape and visual impact assessment
What we did
The landscape assessment concluded that there would be no significant adverse long-term impacts on landscape character or on any designated landscape as a result of the proposed development. Development of the business park would create a more cohesive landscape, resulting in significant medium- and long-term character improvements for the area. The rural surroundings of Perth would experience a long-term negligible impact as a result of the proposals. Potential visual effects at properties to the north of the proposed site would be mitigated in the longer term by maturing tree planting..
The landscape proposals fall naturally into two halves. From the burn adjacent to the “Park and Ride” and its environs westwards, the site, (which consists of abandoned fields and the foundations of Broxden Farm and some scrub woodland), is dominated by existing commercial development with Broxden Business Park immediately to the north; and the Broxden Roundabout (an important gateway to Perth), immediately to the west.
To the east of this are a further series of fields, some abandoned, some still in use, dominated and overlooked by the residential development opposite (although this influence lessens to the east due to mature tree groups reducing potential intervisibility). This in turn has broadly dictated two approaches to the landscape strategy.
To the west, the business park area is generally overlooked by existing commercial development and visitors travelling into Perth. This will, in due course, feature high quality architecture but initially an attractive amenity-led landscape design is envisaged, set against a native woodland backdrop.
The valley of the burn near the “Park and Ride” is to be developed as an attractive linear park, again with amenity planting set into native waterside trees (after the fashion of a Scottish Glen Garden) which will serve as a feature and resource not only for the business park, but also the local neighbourhood as a whole.
To the east, as observed above, the landscape character is already strongly influenced by the residential development on the opposite side of the valley and residential development will clearly be in keeping with this. However, initially at least, visual impacts upon these existing houses must be considered and mitigated. To this end, a series of east- west trending tree planting belts are proposed both to screen and break up the views of the houses from these areas. These will contain a proportion of semi-mature native trees for immediate effect as well as mixed woodland transplants for longer-term cover.
Meantime, on the north-south axis, the existing burns and hedgerows will be augmented by waterside native tree and shrub planting, for further landscape and visual sub-division.
On consent of Planning permission in 2013 the Planning Department commented “…The general approach to development, utilising existing landscape features to shape the layout and tie it to the overall site context is supported. The design concept includes generous open space and takes account of the site’s importance as a gateway into the City of Perth.”
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