New green infrastructure plans outlined for proposed Mount Oswald development

April 17, 2012 | Browney Lane News

Plans for environmental improvements that would be made to the Mount Oswald site in Durham City as part of its proposed development have been outlined by the company behind the project. 

The Meadowfield-based Banks Group has developed a ‘green infrastructure plan’ as a central part of the planning application that will be submitted for the scheme later this year. 

Based around the concept of a linear park, the Mount Oswald development would see a number of natural corridors running through the site which open up into a range of different public spaces, which, along with a network of footpaths, would cover more than 17 acres of land across the whole site. 

Both formal play spaces and informal open spaces are included in the plan, as well as a community garden, new woodland in the central part of the site which will link up with existing copses and over 3.5 kilometres of new footpaths. 

These new footpaths would complement those that are already in existence and would also link communities with surrounding green spaces at Blaid’s Wood and the Woodland Trust’s Low Burnhall site. 

Measures to encourage the diversification of wildlife in the area are also being put forward, with existing corridors through the site that are used by animals such as badgers and bats being safeguarded and improved, and a range of habitat enhancements being introduced. 

A sustainable drainage system would also be laid to help ensure that water resources are used as efficiently as possible. 

As well as encompassing executive housing and high-quality student accommodation, Banks’ proposed mixed-use development of the Mount Oswald site would also include a range of new community facilities, with new local employment opportunities being created through a food store and other small commercial ventures. 

The student accommodation has been designed to provide new first class living space and to help establish more balanced communities in Durham city centre by freeing up properties that are currently occupied by student housing for use by families, young professionals and other groups. 

A detailed public consultation process is being undertaken by Banks around their proposals, to ensure all interested parties are fully informed about what is being put forward and have the chance to express their views about it. 

John Ruddick, senior property development manager at The Banks Group, says: “Taking a holistic, environmentally-focussed approach to this development will enable us to not only create the high-quality homes and student accommodation, but also a much-improved natural environment that will enhance the city’s wider landscape. 

“The new public spaces that we want to create will be open to everyone who lives and works in the city to use, and they’ve been designed to offer appropriate locations for whatever leisure activities people want to pursue, from sport and exercise to simply enjoying the natural surroundings. 

“The needs of local wildlife have also been fully taken into account, and the measures we’ve introduced will not only safeguard the homes and habitats of the area’s existing animal occupants, but will also actively encourage a wider variety of wildlife to make their homes on the Mount Oswald site.” 

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, adds: “This is a landmark development for the city, and every aspect of it is being planned out in great detail to ensure we put forward the most appropriate designs and ideas for the site that we can. 

“As well as providing new public open spaces and community facilities to the area, the realisation of this scheme would deliver many other benefits, including creating employment opportunities for local people, enhancing the local property market and bringing increased revenues for the local and regional economies. 

“We believe our proposals very much fit in with the local authority’s vision for the city’s future, and look forward to being able to finalise and submit our planning application later in the year.” 

Anyone who would like more information on the new Mount Oswald development proposals can contact the Banks community relations team by calling 0191 378 6100 or emailing mountoswald@banksgroup.co.uk.  For futher information on the project visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/mount-oswald

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