Fort Halstead

UK – RIBA Stages: B-C

An active masterplanning exercise for the conversion of a Ministry of Defence site into a primarily residential community. Aedas were commissioned, as part of a team led by Pegasus Landscape Design, to establish an illustrative masterplan framework.

Fort Halstead lies within the Metropolitan Greenbelt, in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is enclosed by ancient woodland and contains a scheduled ancient monument. These environmental factors were the principal constraints for the site and established a series of parameters for its development based upon the height and spread of built form, location and structure of open space and elements of sustainable landscape. The Aedas R&D team developed software that evaluated these parameters, judging the maximum developable area whilst ensuring that the framework was driven by minimising the visual impact on the surrounding landscape. As a result the emerging masterplan was based on a ‘development envelope’ that was expressed in both vertical (height) and horizontal (spread) terms.

The masterplan comprises 340 acres surrounding a commercial, new build office that was undertaken by the Manchester Aedas office and completed in August 2009. I worked on the project at Stage C, helping to present the case for re-structuring the surrounding landscape to better preserve the woodland whilst sustainably integrating it with the built environment proposed in the masterplan. This involved increasing the surrounding woodland by 10% and consolidating the current total building mass to meet the MDS area of the Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development. I was tasked with creating a document to effectively demonstrate the benefits of this proposal to the planners, which involved collaboration with the client’s representative.