Landscape strategy

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Here you can hear more about the ideas for the Gardenway orbital park and the landscape strategy that will help to shape the design.

Introduction

The landscape strategy for the Gardenway has developed from an appreciation of landscape character, context, and ideas relating to the current situation and future potential of the types of spaces and neighbourhoods it will engage with. This has been informed by the extensive feedback provided through a series of online co-design workshops, and stakeholder inputs.

The strategy is divided into 5 key areas, as shown on the series of landscape strategy drawings which show the key spaces of the linear park related to the main landscape types.

The plans are accompanied by a downloadable pdf document for each of the 5 areas and the key spaces along the Gardenway route and with a short description of the siting of the Gardenway and how it can be integrated into the existing landscape together with a brief vision statement, landscape strategy principles and suggested new uses and facilities for each space.    

North (Section 1a) - River Thame Corridor, Haydon Hill to Dunsham Park

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This section is characterised by the River Thame valley floodplain landscape, its adjacent communities and the historic Quarrendon Leas site to the north with its grazed fields and sensitive Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) sites. Within the floodplain, the landscape strategy seeks to make more room for seasonal flooding by proposing new scrapes, wetland, wet meadow and woodland areas to build floodplain resilience and biodiversity, while re-balancing recreational uses along the valley.

At Quarrendon Leas, protecting the sensitive historic SAM sites is prioritised, alongside conservation management of the hedgerow network and pasture. Consideration is also given to potential expansion of wetland and wet woodland in the wettest parts of the site, less suitable for sheep grazing. Where the linear park interfaces with neighbourhood streets, parks and green spaces, the strategy sets out actions for healthy streets initiatives including new public realm, street tree planting, integration of localised sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) such as swales and rain gardens and encourages householders to think about de-paving and creating wilder, wetter drive, yard and garden areas.In local parks such as Meadowcroft and Dunsham Park, the strategy suggests steps for improving park structure and ecological function with new tree and hedge planting and creation of species-rich grasslands. Ideas for diversifying the offer of parks, encouraging health and well-being and building social capital are also suggested.

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North (Section 1b) - Aqua Way to the Grand Union Canal

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This section highlights the potential of the Gardenway route in relation to the meeting of vale and ridge landscape character areas, land use and field pattern and the connecting neighbourhood parks and green spaces with development at Kingsbrook, ecologically sensitive wet grassland at Stocklake and meeting theAylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal.

At Cleveland and Coppice Parks, the landscape strategy suggests steps for improving park structure and habitat value with new tree and hedge planting sympathetic to the long linear quality of the spaces together with the creation of species-rich grasslands. This offers a framework for more diverse uses, including natural play and potential new play facilities inspired by the ridge and furrow landscape together with a range of more social and growing spaces that build the relationship between local communities and neigbourhood parks.At Oldfield Meadows, the strategy aims to conserve and enhance the existing hedgerow network and habitat value alongside the siting of a new community orchard while retaining the long views which offer a sense of place and perspective over the landscape. This section of the strategy supports the creation of roadside nature reserves (RNR’s) at Aylesbury Road and BellinghamWay to develop habitat corridors and suggests a boardwalk or embankment structure for navigating across ecologically sensitive wet grassland at Stocklake to meet the Grand Union Canal.  

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East (Section 2) - Grand Union Canal to Wendover Road

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This section lies within the Southern Vale landscape character area and has a strong association with water and wetlands e.g. the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand UnionCanal (GUC), Bear Brook and its associated wetland flood alleviation area and Westend Ditch. The strategy seeks to support the infrastructural and ecological value of the waterways and wetlands while improving the access and offer of related parks and green spaces. Much of the green space available to the Gardenway route through this section is linear and in close proximity to neighbourhood ‘backs’ at Broughton and Bedgrove. The strategy seeks to improve edge conditions and relationships while making the most of available spaces, with new tree planting, and habitat restoration/creation of species-rich meadow and wetland edges – for example alongside the Bear Brook and expanding into existing parks such as Oakfield Road Park and Play Space, Narbeth Park,Richmond Road and Westend Ditch supported by ideas for new social spaces and play facilities.  A boardwalk is suggested to link from the GUC across the EA’s Bear Brook flood alleviation area with further ideas for appreciating nature such as a hide, pond dipping platforms and outdoor classroom areas. The strategy suggests making more of the opportunity of the collective spaces either side of the canal, with links to the Canal Basin and ideas for consolidating a community hub and activating Oakfield Park. Creating a connection to the Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM)moated site at Broughton expands the network of local spaces but needs sensitive handling to avoid detrimental impacts on the site’s archaeology.

A ‘HealthyStreets’ vision for Richmond Road and green space is suggested, with a new public realm treatment integrating swale and rain gardens, street and parkland tree planting, species-rich meadow conversion and natural play. A similar approach could be adopted at Hampden Hall Estate. The strategy supports local and community action for positive environmental change and encourages de-paving, wildlife gardening, the creation of rain gardens etc where feasible to turn grey to green and maximise biodiversity benefits, even in small footprints. Everything counts!

In light of new housing development, the South East Aylesbury Link Road (SEALR) and a southern expansion of Bedgrove Park, the landscape strategy includes a vision for the aggregation of arable and pasture land at Aylesbury’s south-eastern fringe to form a Country Park, structured around the conservation of existing hedgerows and fields with potential for significant expansion of the black poplar landscape and a range of other habitats. This natural framework could be supported by a range of facilities including new active uses and a community hub.

Within the planned new development at Hampden Fields West, the green seam of the Gardenway route will work with the development character to support neighbourhood cohesion and create continuity of green infrastructure.

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South (Section 3) –Wendover Road to Oxford Road

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In this section, Aylesbury’s urban fringe meets the southern vale landscape character area where the pattern of arable fields and grasslands is bisected by several rail and road corridors. With the arrival of HS2, the South East Link Road(SEALR) and planned new neighbourhoods (AGT1 and AGT2), the future is one of significant landscape change in which the Gardenway linear park can play a significant role in providing parks and green space as shared resources for new and existing communities, while maintaining the integrity of strategic landscape gaps and corridors between distinct development sites.

Between Wendover Rd and the Aylesbury to Princes Risborough railway, further work is required to clarify how the Gardenway will relate to new development, however key principles of the landscape strategy include conserving and enhancing views tothe Chilterns and Mid-Vale Ridge, creating connections between Stoke Mandeville Hospital, station and village that are fully accessible and provide good local opportunities for recreation and exercise for people with different mobility needs and requirements. This includes creating park and garden spaces that support recovery, healing, rehabilitation, horticultural therapy and wheelchair accessible growing spaces. In addition, the Gardenway can be integrated and/or linked to local neighbourhood centres to provide meaningful green infrastructure corridors within new development areas, supporting movement of people and wildlife. A green bridge across the main London to Aylesbury railway and a wide at grade level route beneath the Aylesbury to Princes Risborough railway could offer significant benefits for both.

Land either side of the Stoke Brook corridor can contribute to an expanded neighbourhood park on the doorstep of existing Southcourt residents and the future community at AGT2. The landscape strategy seeks to improve the existing neighbourhood space at Southcourt and link with Walton Court local centre.  Improved access along and across Stoke Brook corridor will encourage spatial integration, while making space for people and nature with localised bank re-profiling and creation of more marginal stream-side planting areas to improve the habitat value as a wildlife corridor.

Adjacent low-lying and wet ground west of Stoke Brook suitable for new scrapes, pools and wet meadow and woodland could expand habitat value and support resilience to flooding. Neighbourhood streets at Southcourt can be redefined as ‘healthy streets’ with a new public realm treatment including street trees and improved surfaces to create a better relationship with the green space. The existing green space can be improved with new tree planting and species-rich meadow creation to develop the structure and range of spaces while diversification of uses e.g.offering a range of new play and social spaces will support better function asa park. A new community hub linked to AGT2 is also suggested.

You can see more of the proposals for this section here.

Please tell us what you think by completing the survey at the bottom of this page.

West (Section 4) – Fairford Leys to Emerald Way

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A large proportion of this section of the Gardenway linear park is characterised by the historic, but fragmented park setting of Hartwell House and the associated sport and recreation at Fairford Leys within which the route alignment of HS2will bring further change. The landscape strategy seeks to conserve and enhance the parkland quality and recreational use of Fairford Leys while recognising that any mitigation measures associated with HS2 are likely to influence the local spatial character and immediate setting of the Gardenway route.

Key strategy principles include integrating the Gardenway route along the east of Fairford Leys into an expanded woodland edge while retaining views over the open parkland landscape. Retention of sports pitches is recommended alongside creation of more facilities, including pockets for play, fitness and sports along the length of the Gardenway route at Fairford Leys providing a range of choices supported by links to a new community hub facility. The strategy suggests managing the site for recreation and wildlife and diversifying the spatial structure with pockets of tree planting to offer quieter, dedicated spaces suitable for forest school alongside other more reflective activities.

A braided route near the west end of Rabans Lane offers a street and neighbourhood route connection through the industrial fringe along Rabans Lane and Haydon Hill viaEmerald Way, and a secondary route skirting Aylesbury Sewage Works with a potential connection through the River Thame floodplain via a wetland site, then across the Aylesbury Vale railway towards the south of Berryfields.

The landscape strategy seeks to improve the setting of Rabans Lane by improving the public realm environment, industrial frontage and boundary treatments and converting verges to roadside nature reserve (RNR) with species-rich grassland.The verges and residual spaces at Emerald Way can form a linear neighbourhood park with improved boundary treatments, including native hedgerows, linear orchards, and community planting spaces set within flower lawns and species-rich meadow.

The northern braid around the sewage works and sensitive wetland area requires further scoping to better understand its feasibility but could provide a positive alternative experience and connection to the Rabans Lane/Emerald Way route.

You can see more of the proposals for this section here.

Please tell us what you think by completing the survey at the bottom of this page.

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