Nicholas Pearson Associates

Projects /
Mollington Care Home

Client:  CastleOak

Location: Chester

Castleoak proposed a 70 bed care home on a brownfield site to the north of Chester, providing residential care for older people, including those with dementia.

Nicholas Pearson Associates were appointed by Castleoak to undertake landscape and ecology work.  We were instructed to design the soft landscape for the scheme, that allowed our ecology and landscape teams to work closely together to ensure maximum gains for landscape and biodiversity, with minimal effort. The landscape scheme has been designed to complement and enhance the path network which encourages exploration of the grounds.  The planting helps define the spaces, frames views and creates a series of interlinking spaces providing structure and seasonal interest.  Paved areas outside communal rooms improve the inter relationship with the gardens which is particularly important for patients.  Care has also been taken to design the gardens in relation to views from all rooms.

A walkover survey identified habitats suitable for Great Crested Newts (GCN) on Site, optimal terrestrial habitat in neighbouring land and 18 ponds within 500m of the proposed site considered suitable to support GCN.  As such GCN surveys were proposed and revealed the presence of a large population, with the nearest pond found to support GCNs just 13m from the site boundary. This led to the decision that the planting proposed would also provide habitats for local Biodiversity Action Plan species and enhance resting and foraging habitat for GCN.

Given the size and proximity of the GCN population, a Natural England Habitat Regulations Licence was required. Given project timescales this was applied for ahead of planning approval.  Natural England has now approved the Licence, with trapping and exclusion of GCNs from within the site having started in spring 2011.