Fernleigh Park, Long Marston

From a former airfield to a green community

“We want to create a new community worth caring about. Invoking garden city principles to create a superb place with opportunities to live, work and socialise within 15 minutes of Stratford Upon Avon’.


A former airfield turns to dynamic community

Fernleigh Park is one of Cala’s high-profile flagship developments, forming the south-eastern portion of the proposed masterplan for Long Marston Airfield in Stratford-upon-Avon. The site is allocated as a new settlement proposal for 3,500 homes within the Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy.


Following entering into an Option Agreement in 2014, Cala Cotswolds began promoting the site for large-scale development, both locally through the District Council’s emerging Core Strategy, and nationally via the Government’s Garden Villages initiative. As a brownfield site comprising a former airfield and range of scrapyard and mixed-use terrain, it was considered to have huge potential to contribute to local housing supply but at the same time to deliver extensive environmental improvements.


Cala’s mission is to develop self-sustaining new communities, including creating new jobs and infrastructure, such as schools, shops, medical and leisure facilities. These all help to boost the local economy whist simultaneously ensuring new housing does not burden existing services. Our experience in promoting large scale, complex schemes involving a range of uses has been a critical factor in initially securing local Council support. Then, in partnership with the Council, winning the backing of the Government who in January 2017 confirmed the site’s inclusion in its first wave of Garden Villages, to be delivered with ongoing assistance from Homes England.



Successful allocation in the Core Strategy

Following the site’s allocation in the Core Strategy, master planning the site has been an inclusive and collaborative process, involving numerous stakeholders representing community groups, as well statutory consultees such as the County Council and both highway and education authorities. This approach resulted in an approved Plan, known as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), in February 2019.


Our emphasis is very much on creating a new community, to be served by the timely delivery of physical and social infrastructure. An outline planning application for the Garden Village, together with a detailed scheme for a strategic road link around Stratford-upon-Avon, has now been submitted and conversations are ongoing.


Meanwhile, an outline planning application was approved later in 2017 by the District Council for the first phase of the development for up to 400 homes - 70 of which are affordable (a mix of social rented and shared ownership). 48% of the initial phase will be allocated to   green open space and amenities including wildlife ponds, play parks, sports pitches, allotments and a community orchard.


The acquisition of the site came after several years of careful planning and close partnership with Stratford-upon-Avon District Council and Homes England to bring Cala’s vision to fruition – it been supported by funding for vital infrastructure from Homes England.


Cala was praised for its sustainable and considerate proposals for the regeneration of the brownfield site. The approval of the site demonstrates Cala’s commitment to creating long-term relationships with local authorities to unlock critical housing land whilst supporting biodiversity and the local environment.


Local history shaped the proposals

Long Marston Airfield comprises 513 acres of part brownfield / part greenfield land to the south of Stratford-upon-Avon. The airfield closed as a Royal Air Force station in the 1950s when civilian use took over, evidence of its history remains with disused runways and tarmacked areas. Cala identified an opportunity to create a new chapter for the site by creating a thriving new community that gave back to the local area. The development provides much needed new homes for the community – in line with the Council’s Core Strategy which details the need for additional and affordable housing. Stratford-upon-Avon is just a 15-minute drive away, enabling quick and easy access for work and socialising.  


Proposals for Fernleigh Park went through a rigorous and collaborative design approach that responded to Garden Village Principles, which are based on delivering new, affordable housing communities that enhance the natural environment. This has led to a development that offers a variety of housing choice, new amenities for the existing and new community and improved public access across the site and to the wider pedestrian network. The plan brought Cala’s vision of a new community to life whilst incorporating a traffic free route to Stratford centre via the new greenway link, which encourages different modes of transport, such as cycling and running. The site forms part of the proposed wider masterplan, where a further 3,100 homes are subject to planning consent.


Our masterplan

Cala appointed experienced master planners, Pegasus Group, to develop the plans whilst overcoming the challenging technical and environmental restrictions posed by the former airfield site.


Through consultation with the local community and key stakeholders, plans for the site evolved to help meet local wants and needs. An initial linear layout with larger open spaces and a straight-line corridor which drew inspiration from the runway became a more organic flowing character. This allowed for landscape buffers to help retain existing landscaping elements and an additional green corridor.


The final proposals integrated the open space, improving the opportunity for biodiversity and breaking up the larger green spaces into smaller pockets which sit comfortably in the scheme. Roads curve, reflecting a more natural, village character and allowing for more variety along the route whilst improving views and the setting of new properties.



The first phase

Fernleigh Park will initially comprise 400 homes of sizes and types, ranging from two-bedroom terraced homes to spacious five-bedroom family homes on larger plots, using a range of materials to create varying interest and character.


The site will also include play parks – with an aeroplane themed climbing frame to tie into the site’s RAF history, as well as a history interpretation board which highlights the historical importance and legacy of the airfield.


Public realm design looks to blend green spaces and parks with the proposed future development of Long Marston Garden Village. The 52 acres of open space – including grassland, woodland, and wetlands – takes every opportunity to maximise biodiversity with extensive tree planting. Over 700 trees have been planted within the open space, in addition to over 100 trees along the roads helping to form the streetscape. There’s also a wildlife corridor with a variety of habitats, including a wildflower meadow and wildlife ponds, a green corridor and local greens with swathes and perennial planting. Community orchards, allotments, play spaces and sports pitches provide opportunities for the community to maximise the open spaces.


This green infrastructure has been incorporated to create and enhance wildlife habitats, and to link these habitats with the green corridor to ensure the safe passage of wildlife throughout the site.


With Garden Village Principles underpinning every aspect, including the creation of a community, the site will also feature a gateway hub providing a social cornerstone for the development and opportunities for employment for local residents and those living within the wider area.

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