Barratt David Wilson Homes and the RSPB have joined forces to create the UK’s first truly wildlife-friendly housing development at Kingsbrook, a 306-hectare site on the outskirts of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, with the aim of “Giving Nature a Home”.
The RSPB worked with Barratt David Wilson on the masterplan of the 2,450-home project, which built the care of the natural environment into the scheme at the earliest stages, including keeping ancient hedges, creating a 250-acre nature reserve and visitor centre, and concentrating homes in areas with the least biodiversity. The addition of miles of new hedges with native plants, gardens planted with fruit trees, allotments, a community orchard and a sustainable drainage system that created wildliferich waterways, ensured a rich environment to support wildlife and biodiversity.
Specific wildlife-friendly initiatives were invented and introduced, including “swift bricks”, artificial nesting holes built into homes; hedgehog highways, small access points built into garden fences to encourage hedgehogs and amphibians to travel between gardens; bat-friendly street lighting; amphibian-friendly kerbing; and bat boxes.
Barratt David Wilson and the RSPB have also been working together to create a guide to help residents plan their gardens to support wildlife, as well as a new online resource called Nature On Your Doorstep that will help people to care for their local animals and birds.
The two organisations have a long-standing and fruitful partnership which dates back to 2014, and aims to show that with the right design and forethought, both people and nature can thrive in close proximity.
“In the context of the current climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, the aspirations and achievements of this partnership must be recognised and celebrated. A significant amount of effort has undoubtedly been put into this scheme to balance the aspirations of creating a “home for nature” with the necessary commercial outcomes of the project. However, the project goes to show that early consideration of ecology and biodiversity will deliver exciting outcomes benefitting all.” Judge’s comment