HELPING SHAPE A NEW COMMUNITY

Plasdwr News

Ed Turner, senior director at Pegasus Group

Pegasus Design (part of Pegasus Group) is a consultancy of urban designers, architects and landscape architects. We’re responsible for shaping new communities and places across the UK.

The projects we work on could be as small as a collection of houses, all the way up to the scale of Plasdŵr with thousands of homes, as well as schools, shops and community facilities – or anything in between.

We begin by looking at the site and mapping the constraints and opportunities. These can be existing infrastructure, topography (the way the land sits), wildlife habitats and green infrastructure such as water or existing trees and hedgerows. Once we’ve identified the constraints and opportunities, we can consider how these can be integrated into a new place.

Although there are typically more constraints on brownfield sites which have previously been developed, the Plasdŵr site still poses its own challenges in the form of utilities, existing woodland, ecology, movement patterns, existing context, topography and future modes of travel.

We work closely with Plasdŵr’s ecology partner EDP to identify important habitats, trees and hedgerows that we will retain and integrate into new green spaces. These have been factored into the masterplan to create a new place that is distinctive with its own character, taking inspiration from heritage, habitats and ecology that will provide a new identity for Plasdŵr.

Plasdŵr represents a unique opportunity in that it’s largely made up of one single planning application. Schemes of this size are usually made up of several separate planning applications with a number of individual landowners, and the overall vision can become lost or change over time. The advantage of Plasdŵr consisting of a single planning application and single landowner, Plymouth Estates, is that it’s allowed us to consider the site as a whole and design it with one vision.

We’ve been lucky to have a lot of input into the design. Plymouth Estates made it clear from the beginning that they wanted Plasdŵr to be a legacy, so we knew we needed to create a place that was forward-thinking and would stand the test of time. We designed a community around green space, with five separate neighbourhoods each with their own facilities like schools, play areas and shops.

Working with Vectos, Plasdŵr’s travel planning partner, we’ve created a hierarchy of footpaths, cycle routes and roads to prioritise active travel. While cars will have their place at Plasdŵr, it will be easiest for people to get around the development by walking, cycling and using the bus. A cycle path separate to the footpath and carriageway will run along Llantrisant Road and into the development, to make it easier for people to cycle. Our design also needed to factor in bus routes and protecting a route for a possible South Wales Metro.

The biggest milestone for us was getting planning permission for the look and feel of the whole development. For a scheme of this size, the final design that’s submitted for approval is the culmination of years of work behind the scenes. As the work progresses, our role on the project will be evolving but we’re still heavily involved. Moving forward, we’ll be responsible for creating a design manual for new developers to ensure the vision isn’t lost, landscape design, architecture, and providing visuals and 3D images to show people how the finished development will look in the future, a strategy for public art and other finer details.

Plasdŵr is the largest single planning application project we’ve worked on so it’s incredibly exciting. We’re already starting to see infrastructure going in and work progressing on the first homes and green spaces and we’re looking forward to seeing the vision become a reality over the coming years.