The aim is to restore green spaces that have suffered from neglect and vandalism to create ecosystems of high ecological value, and demonstrate that built and natural environment can coexist through appropriate consideration of environmental issues.
Case Study 1 - The Alan Higgs Centre
The Alan Higgs Centre is a leisure centre built within 80 acres of land. Accordingly, the strategic approach undertaken is a zoning approach, which splits the site into 4 main areas:
1. The Built Environment
Such area includes the sports centre complex itself along with associated service areas (groundsman’s compound; car parks; and vehicle ways) and external activity areas (synthetic football pitch; skate park; BMX track; netball courts).
2. The Developed Environment
Such zone includes the grass football pitches and the swales that have been developed as an example of more natural sustainable methods of cleansing and draining, in order to mitigate the human impact onto the natural environment.
3. Managed Environmental Projects
Such areas tend to be those that are closest to the building to ensure more controlled access and involvement. The projects developed within this zone have mainly an educational purpose and include:
- Cottage Garden
- Sensory Garden
- Butterfly Garden
- Garden Allotments
- Natural Play Trail
- Outdoor Classroom
- Recycling / Composting area
- Educational Pond
4. Conserved Areas of Wildlife
Such areas include large sections of the river, a marshy area, a wildlife pond, grasslands and areas of wetland and woodland, where the main purpose is to enhance the existing biodiversity.
The development of the site within these four distinct zones acknowledges the high levels of human and built presence in some areas, but seeks to balance and mitigate this through consideration of good environmental practice in ‘built’ areas; controlled access into ‘developed’ and ‘managed’ areas; and absolute conservation and limitation of access into ‘wildlife’ areas.
Case Study 2 - Canley Brook
Following the water vole and otter survey that The Living Environment Trust was commissioned to undertake along Canley Brook, the Trust was also commissioned to design an environmental masterplan for the adjacent green space.
Accordingly, the Trust undertook an extensive consultation exercise with local school children and residents, in order to include the community’s requests in the masterplan where feasible.
Subsequently, the masterplan was produced, with the aims of enhance the existing biodiversity, maximise use of the site by the local community, increase local involvement and ownership, and ensure long-term sustainability.
The first phase of implementation has taken place and a Natural Play Area has been installed.
Case Study 3 - Ten Shilling Wood
The Living Environment Trust was commissioned by the Local Authority produce an environmental masterplan for the land to the immediate south of Charter Avenue and west of Mitchell Avenue, within the designated Canley Regeneration are of Coventry.
Coventry City Council would have used the masterplan should they have decided to apply for the Pathfinder Funding, which amount to £480k.
Accordingly, the Trust undertook an extensive consultation with residents and school children, in order to gain knowledge on the expectations from the local communities.
Based on the findings from the consultation, the masterplan aims at maximising the usage of the greenspace in Canley, providing real benefits to people of all ages in the area, promoting a healthy lifestyle, greater community cohesion and reduced anti-social behaviour. In accordance, the plan includes elements, such as natural play areas, woodland play trails, habitat improvements, adventure play grounds, and a skate park.
Although Coventry City Council did not apply for the Pathfinder money, due to sustainability issues, the masterplan is designed in a way that individual projects can be undertaken when smaller pockets of funding become available. Consequently, the first project has already been implemented on the Xcel Leisure Centre grounds, with the development of a £50k natural play area.