Yateley Care Home, Hampshire
As the Blackwater River flows through Surrey, bordering Berkshire and into Hampshire, it passes through some of the most desirable residential lands in the south of England. It also flows through some excellent and accessible gravel and sand beds, which have been quarried for over 50 years, explaining the many lakes that border both sides of the river. Some of these are now leisure parks and sailing venues.
On one of the old quarrying sites off the Sandhurst Road in Yateley, Hampshire, (which, as often happens, was also used for concrete production,) planning permission was granted for a care home and retirement village complex, now known as Hampshire Lakes and Willow Gardens. Situated on a large plot of land, bordered by the Blackwater River to the north and by the Blackwater River Valley Park to the east, the critical importance of high-quality landscaping was obvious to the planners. The developer, Anchor, worked closely with the architect and Portus & Whitton the landscape architect, to create an environment in which the buildings are screened from other properties, and the natural beauty of the Blackwater Valley Park is not compromised.
Due to the low-lying nature of the site, extensive remodelling of the site was essential to avoid flooding. This meant that much of the land is set aside for flood alleviation and nature, so tree planting around the buildings and roadways was essential – and over 120 trees were to be planted – if the rural and peaceful aspect was to be retained for the residents of the village.
Surface water drainage also presented a challenge due to the high water-table across the site. To help attenuate stormwater falling onto the site during times when discharge into nearby watercourses is not possible, a below-ground attenuation tank was constructed below the car parking area outside the main care building. The GreenBlue Urban ArborSystem tree pits were built on top of the attenuation tank, maximising the effectiveness of the storage and cleansing aspects of stormwater management. Water coming off the hard surface of the car park can infiltrate through the bio-remediation soil in which the trees are growing healthily, removing pollutants and silt, dropping the water into the tank below where it is stored until it can be discharged. The ArborSystem on this project included StrataCell soil cells, Arborvent aeration ports, RootRain Precincts incorporated into the above-ground Tay ductile steel tree grilles, and fitted with Ullswater tree guards to prevent vehicular damage. This is a good example of a Hybrid SuDS scheme – using more than one feature to cope with the more extreme rainfall events.
The final effect is visually very pleasant and actively effective – the thriving trees giving a softening to the entrance and visitor parking without the potential problems that trees in hard surfacing often create. Using GreenBlue Urban root management products prevents hard paving cracking and heave – for the long term. Studies have shown that once a tree establishes a rooting pattern, it tends to remain that way, even in old age. Up to date tree planting technology bringing benefits to our elderly citizens – the GreenBlue way!