Residential Accommodation New BuildAchieving the Gold Standard in Eco Homes

Project: Residential Accommodation New Build

Client: Cosmopolitan Housing Association

Services: Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, Phase 1 Habitat Survey, Water Vole Mitigation

Sector: Residential Development

Location: Merseyside, UK

Scheme Overview:

Contract Ecology’s expert ecological consultants are proud to have assisted Cosmopolitan Housing Association in achieving an International Gold Green Apple Built Environment Award for their £2.2m Aveling Drive new build development.

Cosmopolitan Housing Association were seeking planning permission for a new housing development to comprise of twenty residences under the Homebuy new build scheme of the National Affordable Housing Programme. The previously developed plot was located close to the salt marshes of the Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve and as such the site was identified as being in a tidal flood risk zone. To minimise risk of the new properties flooding the site needed to be raised by 0.8m. The site was bounded on two sides by open watercourses providing habitat for water vole. The increase in height at the site posed a risk of increasing run-off rates into the neighbouring watercourses with the potential to adversely impact upon the water vole population and its habitat.

Scope of Works and Solution:

We started our consultation by conducting a preliminary ecological appraisal of the site, an essential foundation on which to base the planning submission on and site surveys confirmed the presence of a healthy population of water voles in the adjacent watercourses. We worked with the client, their design team and the Environment Agency to implement a highly successful water vole mitigation package which ensured run-off rates were addressed through a sustainable urban drainage system with the added benefit of increasing habitat opportunity at the site.


Planning permission successfully granted.

This new build development demonstrates just how simple it can be to maximise the ecological value of a site for very little extra cost outlay by protecting water voles and enhancing their habitat by integrating their wetland homes into the wider site landscaping and SUDS design.

In acknowledgement of the quality of the effort put in by the entire project team the scheme won the International Gold Green Apple Built Environment Award in 2010. It also achieved a Very Good EcoHomes rating and Secured by Design accreditation and was designed to Lifetime Homes standards.

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