Collaborative Working for the Environmental Planning Team at the RTPI Masterplanning Workshop
25 Oct 2021
Environmental Consultants Evie Scott, Rhianne Richardson, Ed Carr, Isobel Randall and Ella Brown attended a Beginners Workshop to Masterplanning run by the Royal Town Planning Institute in Manchester to understand an architects perspective on Masterplanning.
The event started with our guest speakers Warren Walker, an Architect at EPR Architects and Mark Graham, Director at LDA Design providing a whistle-stop tour of devising masterplans, and considerations to the design and layout. The presentations we’re really interesting and beneficial for our team, providing an alternative perspective on masterplanning and understanding an Architects considerations within the masterplanning process.
The group then undertook a small workshop looking at how they would masterplan the waterfront area in Shrewsbury. The aims were to create a masterplan that would improve the area to encourage more town-residential and families, discourage the use of vehicles in the centre, whilst a goal of economic longevity.
The Site is adjacent to the River Severn, and as such was located in Flood Risk Zone 2 and 3. It was pretty unanimous that a main road adjacent to the River Severn acted as a barrier to the waterfront, and there was potential to make a wider area of public realm, that could act as both a SuDS feature to help alleviate flood risk, offer biodiversity improvements and wellbeing benefits for future users. We discussed options of providing access to the river and offering other means of access and amenities such as water taxis and boat trips, improving the existing bridge and providing an alternative footpath access route inspired by the New York High Line.
The team agreed that a mixture of commercial and residential premises were key to enabling the longevity of the plan, and this also gave homage to the historic uses of a meat market. However thought had to be given to the gradient and flood risk at the Site, as such any sensitive uses had to be away from the ground floors. The team took away from the evening that flow of pedestrian and cyclists through the Site was an important consideration, so ideas were thrown around about adding various features centrally to the Site encourage users to move around the Site. Whilst, there was a large shopping centre that overshadowed the Site to the south, limited access and natural light, it’s historic frontage was appreciated by the group, and so there was discussion on how this could be implemented into the design and also improve views to historic assets near the Site, whilst opening up the area shadowed by the building.
The event highlighted the importance of having environmental consultants involved at an early stage of the masterplanning process, and that considering environmental topics such as flood risk, ecology, heritage, contamination can all add substantial benefits to the masterplanning process in identifying constraints and opportunities.
The team will use this experience when providing advice to our Clients looking to redevelop their Sites, and help provide input to create a feasible masterplan, with their aims in mind.
Above: Aerial view of the Shrewsbury Site from above showing the River Severn, A458 and the buildings within the Site boundary.