Dargavel Village Landscape Architecture
Cass Associates has completed the first major phase of landscape works at Dargavel Village in Renfrewshire, where there are now around 800 new households. It will eventually be home to around 4000 new households by 2035. There are also village amenities such as a primary school, shops and an extensive greenspace network. As part of the transformation the previously used industrial land is being turned into a flourishing landscape for people and wildlife by the use of a range of innovative environmental techniques.
The new landscape integrates Dargavel Village with its neighbour, Bishopton, and its countryside setting. 20 hectares of public open space has been completed with a further 26ha being actively work on. In addition Dargavel Country Park which is over 450ha in extent will have its first phase open to the public later this year. At the centre is a series of three public squares which set the tone for the development. The squares include the retention of manmade and natural features such as the brick piers that marked the historic factory entrance and now form the gateway into the new village. Natural rocky outcrops, mature trees and wildflower meadows have been retained to form the backbone of the landscape. The newly constructed features, such as footpaths and seating areas, utilise materials, such as natural dressed stone, reclaimed from the site and re-laid using high quality craftsmanship. Elsewhere, rounded boulders deposited by glaciers have been unearthed by the engineering works and have been relocated into two play areas to create features which are now enjoyed by children.
Radiating out from the squares is a series of ecological parklands based on existing ponds, lanes and drumlins. These can be explored by new footpaths and are planted with native wildflowers and woodlands. The parklands cater for the circulation of people by foot, bicycle, bus and car, while also providing opportunities for relaxation, exercise and play. Tree lined roads connect the residential areas to access roads enveloped by hedgerows and woodlands which in turn connect to the surrounding trunk roads and a new motorway junction on the M8 motorway.
Over two kilometres of watercourses have been taken out of pipes and returned back to burns. These sinuously flow though the landscape, around boulders and tumbling over cascades of rocks where the land drops away steeply. Restoration of two burns, the Cordite and the Craigton, have already taken place with marginal aquatic planting now well established creating a haven for wildlife such as dragon flies and waterfowl. In addition, eight lakes, with an average area of one thousand square metres, have also been constructed. The lakes are designed to attenuate and purify the water from the development while also creating wildlife habitats and an attractive waterside setting for the new housing.
Cass Associates carried out a two year soil trial programme which established how site specific topsoil can be created using site won subsoils and recycled materials. The outcome of the trial is informing the future planting programme and will significantly help to reduce resource consumption over the lifetime of the project.
The ecology of the site is constantly monitored and recorded through a bespoke management tool based on a geographical information system agreed with Scottish Natural Heritage. Cass Associates works alongside ecologists to ensure that the constantly changing ecological picture is catered for within the emerging landscape implementation programme.
The landscape works will continue to be realised ahead of the built development so that here is always an attractive and maturing environment for new residents. A wide range of housing developers are realising the Design Code, prepared by Cass Associates, by building homes that relate to the principle of the site wide masterplan. Persimmon Homes, Taylor Wimpey, Cala Homes and Stewart Milne Homes have all completed extensive areas of new housing. Added to these are Bellway, Renfrewshire Council, McCarthy and Stone and Avant Homes who are in the earlier stages of construction.
A key component of the next phase of works is the staged opening of Dargavel Woodland Park, a community park wrapping round the village. The first parts of the community park to be made accessible to the public and will create footpath links between Dargavel Village and the countryside. Notably, the park will interface with the historic landscape associated with the Formakin Estate, a Scottish Natural Heritage Registered Park and Garden. The setting of this historic landscape will be repaired by the gapping up of degraded hedgerows, woodland planting and ecological enhancement taking the site another step closer to realising the overall masterplan which Cass Associates has nurtured from the start.
Contact: Diane Griffiths, Cass Associates – email@example.com