A masterplan is a long-term planning document that outlines the overall strategy and major elements of a project or development in its entirety; such as buildings, outdoor spaces, transport connections, and any supporting social and economic infrastructure.
Unlike applications for piecemeal housing developments, BGS is a strategically planned site that has been created holistically over the past 12 years within a comprehensive masterplan and shaped in close consultation with the local community and a range of stakeholders. Importantly, the site will deliver much-needed housing alongside space for important infrastructure such as schools; space for healthcare; cycleways, bridleways and walkways, and beautiful new parkland that benefits from a complementary and high-quality land stewardship plan. This process has enabled us to take the site’s initial concepts and adapt key aspects to meet local requirements and preferences.
- the playing fields were moved further away from properties in Thistle Grove;
- the main access road was realigned away from existing residents in the area;
- the link between The Commons Local Nature Reserve and the central parkland was widened;
- the approach to phasing was altered to allow green landscaping to mature, and shield views from south of the A414;
- the amount of mineral to be removed as part of the preparatory development work has been significantly reduced.
Considering the site holistically within a masterplan makes it easier not only to deliver the critical infrastructure needed to support the development, but also to understand and mitigate any impacts, and to ensure that improvements and benefits are maximised, allowing the central parkland and other elements to be delivered in their entirety.
Overall, the full proposals deliver:
- A high-quality development which delivers infrastructure and local shops and services within a 15-minute walk or cycle from all residents
- A vast, beautiful new public parkland – Birchall Common - that will make up around half of the site and lie at its centre, and will site be managed for – and alongside – the community through a high-quality land-stewardship plan
- Delivery of a strategic cycle link between Cole Green Way and the southern part of Welwyn Garden City as well as off-road links direct to schools
- Wildlife corridors from Commonswood to the Central Parkland and beyond to Panshanger Park
- A biodiversity net gain
- An extension to local public transport networks and a potential hub for the proposed Hertfordshire Essex Rapid Transit project
- Three new schools to provide a net gain in school places for children from BGS and substantially beyond
- A significant contribution to the housing needs of Welwyn Hatfield and East Herts, including a substantial number of affordable homes to comply with local policy
- Much-needed local mineral released for use in construction projects