Landscape matters and how they are being considered in the proposals
There is a great opportunity to create an extensive landscape setting for the new development so that it responds to the site and its context sensitively and in character. This includes the potential to retain the substantial area of existing woodland as a transitional space and to create a connected backbone of green infrastructure across the site.
The site includes substantial landscape elements that contribute strongly to its character inlcuding areas of Ancient Woodland, mature trees, hedgerows, watercourses, and ponds. These elements will be retained, protected, and enhanced to form a strong backbone of the green infrastructure (GI) linking across the site and to the site context.
The proposed surface water drainage, or blue infrastructure, has been designed to link into existing watercourses. These elements will be designed to make a positive contribution to visual, recreational, and ecological amenity of the open space so building on, and contributing to, this green backbone.
New public open spaces, providing opportunities for informal recreation and play and contributing to community infrastructure, will be distributed across the site. These will be linked to the green backbone to create green corridors, for people and wildlife, that provide circular recreational routes and links to the surrounding countryside and local amenities.
There are a small number of opportunities for views to the site have been identified from more elevated, open, locations set back to the north-west. These comprise limited opportunities for views from the recreation ground at Maresfield and from within the High Weald AONB (over 5km distant). The premise is not to try and hide the new development, but to integrate it within its built and undeveloped landscape context using existing and new planting which is appropriate to the landscape character.
New planting to include large trees planted along the contours, so greening and softening the roofscape and integrating the development within the landscape. This approach will contribute to the integration of the proposals into the landscape mimicking adjacent development and minimising noticeable changes to the view.
The majority of the GI will be naturalistic with an informal layout and use native trees and shrubs to reflect the existing character of the site and surrounds, and its location at the site settlement edge. Examples of this approach include the following:
Species rich grassland
Mown grass paths
Woodland and woodland edge planting
Wetlands and ponds in association with SUDS features
A more formal approach will be used at local hubs with provision for equipped play and kick about area