How James Blake Associates can help you

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Strategic Landscape

We save developers significant sums and add huge value through strategic landscape expertise and intelligent planning.

By planning open space in the right places, ensuring the optimum length of interface of buildings to green infrastructure, we secure the maximum numbers of dwellings overlooking green spaces. Dwellings overlooking green space sell for a 10% premium: This adds value to developments.

At James Blake Associates, we believe that landscape planning is about helping to fulfil the developer’s vision, whilst ensuring the landscape character reflects and respects local, regional and national landscape character assessment typologies and their management requirements.

Landscape planning should also take into account and respect heritage features, key views and vistas. However, truly excellent strategic landscape thinking should also save developers significant sums of money, whilst adding value too.  To achieve these aims, our landscape planning team promise high-level design expertise and intelligent planning. By introducing nature into open spaces, James Blake Associates saved, on average, £11.50/m2 (2018) on the build cost just by going ‘green’, compared to conventional open-space design approaches.

For residential development – we plan open spaces to ensure the optimum length of interface of buildings to green infrastructure. This in turn, secures the maximum number of dwellings overlooking green spaces. Dwellings overlooking green space typically sell for a 10% premium, which adds enormous value to developments.

How GI Strategies can add Value and Save Money

We promote practical and cost effective Green Infrastructure (GI) strategies, such as our ‘Go-Natural’, Natural Parklands, or Natural Garden-Cities approaches. Historically, these proposals might have been perceived as a costly departure from convention, but developers are now seeing huge financial and practical benefits as a result of adopting these new strategies. A recent site had a 50:50 net to gross developable area, and the GI areas were close to 200,000 m2, leading to a saving of £1.8m for our client, with maintenance costs also being halved. This was achieved by changing the approach from conventional public open space design.

Our expert strategic landscape team can carry out landscape and visual appraisals (LVA’s), and townscape assessments that justify development layout options and sets out key GI criterion. The LVA can be extended to form a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) by assessing the temporary and residual effects of the proposed development once a layout is provided and certain. This, along with an assessment of cumulative effects, can form the Landscape and Visual chapter of an Environmental Statement, where an Environmental Impact Assessment is a requirement for larger projects. All of our work is carried out in accordance with the current Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (GVLIA Third Edition).

We have extensive experience of drawing up Green Belt Reviews for potential development sites within the Green Belt. These consider the contribution that the site makes to the purposes of Green Belt, as defined in the National Planning Policy Framework. Identifying sites that, although within the Green Belt, make a weak contribution to its purposes is of key importance to the ‘call for sites’ process which occurs when a Local Planning Authority is working on a new Local Plan and is considering which sites to allocate in order to meet their development requirements.

We can evaluate the viability of prospective land purchases by assessing sites for their green constraints and opportunities and can prepare the green pages for site-specific landscape design briefs.  We can also contribute the text and illustrations to Design and Access statements for bids or planning applications. James Blake Associates has 30 years of empirical data on landscape build and maintenance costs, and this pedigree and legacy enables us to establish huge savings for our clients.

We flag any potential conflicts of interest before we quote. Once on site, we look out for any constraints and/or risks, such as Japanese Knotweed, veteran trees, or constraining landscape features as well as identifying any opportunities for adding value to the development that would result from incorporating existing landscape elements. Such practices are put in place to minimise the risk of failure in achieving planning approvals. We can also appraise other competing sites against our site

For larger or urban projects, appraising existing settlement patterns and street profiles ensures vital evidence and baseline underpinning of cost-effective design concepts and landscape design briefs. Our coloured sketch layouts, concept plans, and landscape masterplans are well referenced and supported by our library of (bespoke) illustrative sections, photographs, and construction details. Urban design and landscape character studies cost little, but can serve to speed up the development process as well as safeguard a more cost effective and appropriate scheme.


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Aylesbury GI Plan