Hickling and Barton Halls of Residence

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  • £18m student resident blocks at UEA
  • Re-design of old drove road for shared cycle and pedestrian use
  • Arboricultual advice on tree protection and tree planting

This was a major development to build new student residences over two phases on the site of a former school on the edge of the University of East Anglia campus in Norwich. Landscape design work focussed on creating a large, central courtyard with informal seating and gathering spaces. The project required sensitive design to restore an old drove road to provide a combined cycle and pedestrian route in this semi-rural setting to the northern edge of the campus.

Planning approval for a development of this nature was unlikely to be straightforward and required careful consideration of the way the landscape design could enhance the wider site context. Mature trees form an important element of this landscape and as we were also the project arboriculturists, we were able to develop plans that kept as many of the existing trees as possible.

In a site with restricted space like this there is often limited scope to plant new trees so it is important that the trees that are planted can be nurtured and grow to maturity. We proposed planting trees in an innovative Stratacell system which uses a load-bearing crate to allow the roots to grow in a much larger soil volume than would be normal in a traditional hard paved area. This is a sustainable approach to tree planting which provides certainty of establishment and growth to maturity.

We worked closely with the planners throughout the project, but our work on Cow Drive was particularly significant. Cow Drive was an old drove road that was in use for all traffic to the campus. Following research on the history of the drove road we prepared a heritage statement for the planning application. The completed scheme helped to improve the wider environment through a landscape change connected to the residential development.

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