Summer 2020




Merton College


Green Belt Assessment, Urban Design and LVIA


Local Plan Allocation (Green Belt Release), Outline Planning Application

A community, not a development.

Our overriding ambition for Yarnton was to create a meaningful community; not just a development. A place where a community can be established easily and endure long after the diggers have left. In order to realise our ambitions, we had to discover what enables a community to form and flourish whilst capturing what is special to Yarnton in order to make this approach easier to realise.

As with all of our projects, we took a landscape-led approach to ensure that the existing assets of the site, which included beautiful mature trees and hedgerows, were celebrated as part of our designs and became the emphasis for the public realm strategy for the site. The site’s stunning mature and veteran tree groupings alongside the distinct edges to the site are characteristic assets that the proposals were framed around. Referencing the existing landscape features was hugely important to establish what is unique to the site and give the proposals their own identity

Beautiful mature trees and hedgerows, were celebrated as part of our designs

Yarnton site plan

Rich and varied spaces will encourage people to connect in a communal way that can only be experienced at the site. So designing a network of open space around existing assets, helps us imagine a future community that prioritises the health and wellbeing of its people. This led us to a multi-functional green infrastructure permeated by direct walking and cycling routes, areas for play and relaxation and a community hub building, located in green space overlooking a group of iconic trees.

Empowering people

A proposal to create a new community is not however simply an exercise in spatial design; in order to strive to form strong, healthy communities, commitments should be made to an approach that will involve people in the development process and empower them to allow a community to be realised.

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) outline in their guidance that several key components are needed in order to ensure that strong, healthy communities can be formed; these include strong community engagement and long-term stewardship of community assets such as open space.

Central to the proposals for the Yarnton site was the application of a legacy model, a means for allowing future planning, design and management decisions that will enrich the lives of its residents and its users. Buildings, streets, spaces and virtual space were thought of not as entities of their own, but environments for people to live, work, play and learn.

Project team