Lands Improvement Holdings (LIH) commissioned KMA to run a set of community-facing design workshops for land on the edge of Haddenham, Buckinghamshire. This was part of the process for nominating the site as a potential allocation for housing in the Haddenham Parish Council Neighbourhood Plan. The site that LIH holds in Haddenham has an interesting constraint; a gliding club uses one third of the land as its aerodrome, which was historically used as a training ground for gliders used in the D-Day landings.
Working with LIH’s planning and design team of Savills, Broadway Malyan, Fabrik landscape architects and Peter Brett Associates, we designed and facilitated a series of workshops and site visits that sought community input over two stages: The first around general principles and future scenarios of uses and layout; the second, run with Political Developments Limited (PDL), explored more detailed masterplan proposals for the site.
The workshops were well attended and a highly enjoyable experience, thanks to the participants who came ready to question and probe emerging proposals in an open and thoughtful manner.
The outcome of these workshops can be summarised in 6 main themes:
1. Importance of village identity – the built environment has an organic growth pattern with winding streets, alleys and several village greens known as ‘Ends’
2. Community relationships and balance – any new development should ensure that it is possible for new residents to integrate into village life, for instance by locating village sports provision within part of the site.
3. Population needs – the two ends of the homeowner spectrum particularly need to be considered – young homeowners with children who will need playspace and access to education, while older homeowners may be looking to ‘downsize’ and have a degree of supported living.
4. The Gliding Club – retention of the club is really important to Haddenham, both as part of its heritage and current identity. Clear safety zones need to be established to allow new housing and the club to coexist.
5. Drainage infrastructure – surface water drainage on the edge of Haddenham has been an issue in the recent past and new development needs to improve on the current situation, and certainly not exacerbate it.
6. Access, movement and linkages – future growth of Haddenham needs to be accompanied by an expansion and enhancement of the movement networks to ensure there are different options for moving around (by foot, bicycle, public transport, car) and that these alternatives are desirable and useful, for integration.
The site under consultation went on to gain an allocation in the draft Neighbourhood Plan in December 2014.