R-LA was invited by Mace Group and Homes England to perform a preliminary assessment of their 2000 homes Dewsbury Riverside Masterplan and provide recommendations on specific areas with the aim to achieve a design solution suitable for a Building with Nature (BwN) Award. Cristina Refolo, as an accredited BwN Assessor conducted a comprehensive analysis of the site and its surroundings using GIS data, to create a successful a space that works for both people and nature.

As part of the landscape evaluation, ways to improve the connectivity of existing routes within the site, reduce the need for pedestrians to cross busy roads, and propose boardwalks that bring the community closer to parkland water features were identified. The proposed routes create an efficient green internal network that then connects the site with the surrounding local town centres. 

The proposed formal play zones (NEAPs and LEAPs) were connected by series of stepping stones green play routes, which by following the contours of the land provide safe level access. Seating areas and accidental play elements were also suggested to encourage people to pause and socialise, fostering a sense of community. 

After fully analysing the existing tree canopy of the site, areas for wildlife corridors including hedgerow connecting links and potential locations for wildlife tunnels under major roads were identified. Existing green infrastructure of hedgerows and trees were strategically extended to connect within and outside the site boundary, creating strong new wildlife corridors.

 An in-depth assessment of the soil, infiltration and aquifer vulnerability allowed to quickly locate areas of groundwater vulnerability and therefore identify areas best suited to a SuDS management train in which stormwater is attenuated and filtered through rain gardens until it reaches the ponds at the base of the valley. By providing a clear SuDS strategy at the early design stage, this ensures that retrofitting of SuDS at later design stages is avoided which can prove to be inefficient both in terms of cost and functionality.

 National Tree Map – © Bluesky International Limited


Client: Mace Group and Homes England