The Colne Valley is a special place – a surprising survival of a rich and varied lowland wetland landscape so close to London. It is a vitally important resource for people and wildlife. Within the urban landscape of the Crane Valley, the river corridor acts as a unifying green thread, linking a remarkably varied network of public open spaces. The green infrastructure of both valleys is a precious commodity, providing a wide range of ecosystem services benefiting both wildlife and a huge local community.
However, both valleys are now at a major crossroads, with the Colne Valley sandwiched between two of the biggest civil engineering projects in Europe – HS2 and the proposed Heathrow expansion –along with a host of other significant development proposals, and the Crane increasingly enclosed by Greater London urbanisation.
The quality of the green infrastructure in both valleys is considerable, a great foundation for a thriving landscape ecosystem. But there now needs to be a step change in the way the landscape is managed.
Now is therefore a timely point for action – a ‘call to arms’ to conserve and protect these outstanding landscapes for the long term, for future generations to enjoy, and to ensure resilience in a time of unprecedented change. This is the purpose of the Green Infrastructure Strategy – a unifying green vision for an area 1/6th the size of London, a roadmap for future green and blue infrastructure delivery in the valleys behind which a myriad of delivery partners, organisations and stakeholders can unite, mobilising resources for action.
Colne and Crane Green Infrastructure Strategy
Colne and Crane Valleys
Masterplanning and urban design
Ove Arup & Partners Ltd
The Groundwork South Trust Limited
Development of a partnership Green Infrastructure Strategy for the Colne and Crane Valleys, to deliver a key project in the Colne Valley ‘Landscape on the Edge’ HLF Landscape Partnership scheme, and considering the impact of change from large-scale infrastructure and development proposals coming forward in the area. The project required engagement with a wide range of local stakeholders to develop and validate a long-term green infrastructure vision, strategy and component projects which deliver on the outcomes which key organisations in the two valleys are working towards. Another key requirement was for the work to positively influence the direction of spatial planning for the counties and local authorities which fall within the catchments.
Finalist, Landscape Institute Awards 2019
Complete client and project team: Colne Valley Park Community Interest Company and their managing agent (The Groundwork South Trust Limited); Colne Valley Landscape Partnership and Crane Valley Partnership; FORCE (Friends of the River Crane Environment); Haley Sharpe Design and Plumb Associates. Project Team: Arup Landscape Architecture, Arup Ecology, Arup Heritage