ESP believe in a partnership approach to planning and designing sustainable landscapes. We work together with our clients, design teams and authorities to create solutions that add value to the development, the environment and wider society.
Landscape & Visual Impact Assessment
Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) can be key to planning decisions by identifying the effects of new developments on views and on the landscape itself. ESP have a wealth of experience in scoping and conducting LVIA reports for individual planning requirements, Environmental Statements and Planning Inquiries.
Our approach is wholly consistent with the latest Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (3rd Edition) produced by the Landscape Institute and IEMA. We believe that a thorough assessment of receptors and detailed baseline review of landscape character is fundamental to being able to properly assess the visual and material effects of a development within the landscape.
Our work at Moreton Valance Energy from Waste site, near to the Forest of Dean, required a detailed LVIA as a part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process. ESP's report significantly influenced the design of the plant which subsequently gained planning approval.
Mineral Restoration & Working Schemes
ESP has developed its reputation for excellence in this field by working with our clients on a partnership basis to deliver exemplary restoration and working schemes for minerals developments. The best results are achieved when ESP is involved from the project's inception, so that the mitigation of landscape and visual impacts can be incorporated into working schemes which maximise the returns from the available reserve.
Our restoration of Ardley North quarry on behalf of our client's Smith's & Sons (Bletchington) Ltd won the award for the innovation category at the MPA Biodiversity Awards 2013.
Our work at Chailey Brickworks in East Sussex is a good example of how ESP worked with our clients, Ibstock Group to increase the clay winning area.
Landscape Management Plans
Landscapes are dynamic. They require prudent management to maximise their value to us, or to nature. In the case of restored landscapes, in particular after mineral workings, the 'aftercare' of a site can be critical to engaging stakeholders and gaining planning consent. ESP is able to provide management plans for a range of land uses; each specifically tailored to the needs our client, often using the very best and most practicable techniques and technologies available for the specific site's situation.
ESP's work in restoring Ardley North Quarry for Smith's and Sons (Bletchington) Ltd made the best use of the site for biodiversity, which in turn minimized the requirement for costly land management activities during its aftercare period. This reduced the burden of ongoing restoration costs for our client, whilst also delivering a ecologically sound restoration scheme which won recognition by coming first in the 'Innovation Category' at the MPA Biodiversity Awards 2013.
Design & Planting Plans
While some may see this as an implicit part of any landscape project, we believe that intuitive design and intelligent planting can make the difference between a 'standard scheme' and one that is a truly sustainable solution.
ESP is able to draw upon 25 years of experience and interest in landscape design and ecology to deliver landscaping schemes which fit the setting.
Gill Mill quarry extension in Oxfordshire showcases ESP's design philosophy. The master plan of the site's restoration balances demands for rural recreation and eco-tourism with nature conservation through the intelligent design and use of the lagoons created through mineral extraction.
Expert Witness & Appeals
Planning Inquiries and the appeals process can be daunting and extremely risky for any developer or contesting party due to the high costs and importance of the decisions that are made.
Landscape and Visual effects are often debated in contentious circumstances and on tenuous grounds. In such circumstances the contribution of a chartered landscape architect with experience at this stage in the planning process is tremendously valuable.
ESP's co-director and chartered landscape architect Keith Hampshire CMLI has a wealth of experiences to draw upon when it comes to giving evidence as Expert Witness. The cases he has worked on range from large scale housing schemes in the green belt to the extension of large minerals developments in visually sensitive locations.
If you would like to talk to us about a case requiring our expertise in this area, please contact us here.
Scoping & Feasibility Studies
Developers are frequently faced with the challenge of realising the full potential of their sites for development, without jeopardizing the likelihood of gaining planning approval. It is also the case that many inappropriate developments arise as a result of a lack of consideration of the true range of valid alternatives.
As a practice whose directors who are a chartered landscape architect and chartered surveyor, our extensive experience across a diverse array of sectors means that ESP is able to help developers fully explore the constraints and opportunities of their land. Our strategic advice and scoping reports have helped clients to conceive sustainable development proposals which maximise the value of their holdings whilst gaining approval from regulators.
At Jones Boatyard in Cambridgeshire, ESP helped the Jones' Brothers get permission to extend a marina development on the Great Ouse River. The marina extension is enabled by the extraction of sand and gravel ata sensitive location on the outskirts of historic St Ives.
Read more about our work at Jones' Boatyard here.
Digital Terrain Models & Photomontage
High quality graphic presentation and accurate modelling of a development proposal are truly vital tools for communicating a developer's plans for a site. The quality of such models and images can mean the difference between positive and negative engagement with stakeholders and regulators.
At ESP we spend a great deal of time and effort modelling developments in sophisticated Digital Terrain Modelling (DTM) software, particularly when it is crucial to the visual impact of the site, or its long term working and restoration objectives. Accurate modelling not only makes a more robust case to put in front of planning authorities, but also enables better photomontage and graphic visualisation. The rendered images we are able to produce enables regulators and stakeholder groups to better understand the likely visual impact of the site at different stages of the development. When presented with along with clear and honest case from the developer.
Moreton Valance Energy from Waste (EfW) plant in Gloucestershire is an excellent example of the way in which modelling and photomontage can influence the design of a development to gain planning approval.