Masterplan for Sustaining Caerphilly's Landscape

This study worked with Caerphilly County Borough Council (CCBC) and a local community group to prepare a landscape masterplan based on the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR), multi-functional approach, as defined in The Environment (Wales) Act, 2016 and the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act, 2015 (WBFGA). It is about making the landscapes work harder, for multiple end-users, improving resilience to climate change, and is based on the resources available to manage the landscape in a sustainable way. The study area extends across a diverse landscape surrounded by the densely populated urban areas of Caerphilly, Cardiff and Newport. This unique landscape is under pressure in relation to landscape management and recreational access. In many ways the project area represents a microcosm of the South Wales landscape.

The study was directed and carried out by a WYG team of chartered landscape architects, working closely with CCBC, a GIS consultant and a community group. They:
- coordinated a SWOT analysis with community and stakeholders;
- developed ideas and approaches to overcome the challenges and realise the opportunities;
- tested those opportunities through stakeholder workshops and interviews to obtain buy-in;
- assessed each opportunity against SMNR criteria to select the options which maximise benefits;
- exchanged GIS datasets with NRW relating to interventions on NRW land;
- grouped the proposals into themes based on the type of intervention and likely funding streams;
- prepared an Action Plan for the interventions, agreeing the ‘lead’ and ‘support’ for delivery phase.

This study provides a deliverable and ambitious set of proposals to facilitate a sustainable and collaborative approach to landscape management and public access. The landscape architects and CCBC believe this landscape-led approach is an exemplar for sustainable landscape management in South Wales.

The assessment of the options using the SMNR criteria in Welsh Government Policy provides a robust evidence base. It is designed for practical use and application to provide meaningful benefit to people, landscape, heritage and ecology.

The WBFGA is a driver for the wider benefits to health and wellbeing that access to landscape and nature brings. Its application along with the SMNR approach to a locally important landscape of 25km2 across multiple ownership is both ambitious and innovative. This project is a leader for the landscape scale application of SMNR and the use of ArcGIS Pro to articulate ideas in 3D to help the community to interpret the proposals. As landscape architects our collaborative approach developed a high degree of community and landowner buy in, resulting in a landscape managed in a collaborative and sustainable way to benefit biodiversity, heritage, and the wellbeing of residents and visitors through improved access to landscape and nature. A Community Ranger is employed to deliver the action plan, supported by CCBC and the community group.

This work highlights landscape architecture as the means to reconcile conflicting demands on the local landscape resource. It illustrates how the skills of the landscape profession can build a collaborative approach between stakeholders. Through the management of the landscape in a more proactive, sustainable and joined-up way, the study developed a collaborative approach, bringing together a diverse range of interests to reinforce landscape multi-functionality. Through the application of the SMNR approach and the WBFGA the study will create a landscape that is better connected to urban areas, particularly St. James which was ranked as the most deprived community in Wales in 2014. Conflicts between different user groups will also be reduced and the future-proofed management approach will create more resilient and multi-functional landscape.

Overview

  • Project Name

    Masterplan for Sustaining Caerphilly's Landscape

  • Location

    Caerphilly, South Wales

  • Category

    Masterplanning and urban design

  • Landscape Architect

    WYG

  • Client

    Caerphilly County Borough Council

  • Brief

    The brief for the commission was to create an overarching masterplan to inform the delivery and implementation of the ‘Sustaining Caerphilly’s Landscape’ project. The project is based on a landscape scale application of a Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR) approach. Funding for the masterplan and its implementation is coming from the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Management Scheme, part of the Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme.

  • Awards

    Finalist, Landscape Institute Awards 2019

Details

  • Project Team

    Client Team: Owen Ashton, Rural Development Programme (RDP) Manager, Caerphilly County Borough Council Phil Griffiths, Head of Countryside Services, Caerphilly County Borough Council WYG Team: Lee Morris CMLI, Project Director Louise Ball CMLI, Project Landscape Architect Emma Hays CMLI, Project Landscape Architect Tim Phillips MSc, project GIS consultant

  • Local planning authority or government body

    Caerphilly County Borough Council

  • Year Completed

    2019

  • Project Size

    c. 2,500 ha

  • Contract Value

    £19,400

  • WYG

    Registered Practice Membership
  • Approximate Map Location

    Location

    Caerphilly, South Wales

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