Kingsbrook - new standards in wildlife-friendly housing
The RSPB is working with Barratt Developments and Aylesbury Vale District Council to set a new benchmark for wildlife-friendly housing.
On the Kingsbrook development just outside Aylesbury, 2,450 homes will be built surrounded by new meadows, pools, hedges and trees. The aim is for wildlife to thrive throughout the development. People will benefit from living, working and playing close to nature.
60 per cent of the wildlife in the UK is declining, including once familiar wildlife such as hedgehogs, sparrows and starlings. We need to do something urgently to reverse their fortunes.
At the same time, the UK is set to build up to 200,000 houses each year. New houses and gardens need not be deserts for wildlife. With a bit of thought and planning, they can be excellent places for a whole host of creatures. Not only would wildlife-friendly housing developments be good for wildlife, but it has been shown that people are healthier and happier when they live and work in nature-rich areas.
All the wildlife features which are being included in Kingsbrook have probably been done elsewhere, but we don't know of anywhere where it has been done on such a scale. At Kingsbrook, we expect Barratt to deliver features which we think will make the difference for wildlife (and people).
- 50 per cent wildlife-friendly greenspace, excluding gardens. This sets a new standard, where the new housing will be surrounded by large areas of ponds, parks, meadows, orchards and a nature reserve.
- Wildlife corridors. Kingsbrook is being designed so wildlife can move through the greenspace and the residential areas. Whether it be hedges, strips of wildflower grassland or gaps under fences and walls, wildlife won't have the barriers they normally face.
- Sustainable Urban Drainage. Rather than shunting rainwater straight underground into pipes, in many places it will be directed along rills and swales on the surface - great wildlife habitat - slowing the flow and using nature to clean the water.
- Planting for wildlife, including a higher proportion than usual of native shrubs, many hedges, areas of wildflower grassland for pollinators and butterflies, plus a fruit tree in each garden.
- All manner of wildlife homes, from birdboxes built into the walls of houses to places where amphibians can hibernate.
- December 2013: outline planning permission granted.
- 2014-15: Detailed plans developed.
With the first houses and Show Arenas due to go up by 2016, we will continue to support Barratt and Aylesbury Vale to make this a new community that anyone would want to be a part of.
The work is part of a national partnership with Barratt, which includes an RSPB member of staff working with the national Barratt team as well as a team working on Kingsbrook.
We are delighted to be also working with Aylesbury Vale District Council ecologists and planners.