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Major investment in green infrastructure at Grandhome

Major investment is underway in establishing the formal and informal green spaces at Grandhome, the new community for Aberdeen that will meet a significant proportion of the city’s new housing needs over the next 25 years.

More than £7 million of work is currently being carried out to deliver the first phase of supporting infrastructure for the community, which includes extensive landscaping and the creation of Grandhome’s first open spaces.

The delivery of the vision for Grandhome, set out in its masterplan, will set new standards in the region for place making in terms of its built environment, sense of identity, civic amenities and quality of life. This includes providing a higher than usual proportion of green and open space, which will ultimately comprise more than one quarter of the entire site.

As part of the first phase of development, entrance greens are being formed at the new access to Grandhome from Whitestripes Avenue, which include the planting of beech trees and hedging along with flowering cherry trees. These areas will provide a formal setting for the first neighbourhood, Laverock Braes.

Three hectares of parkland is being created to the west of where the first homes will be built, providing a green space for recreation and amenity that also incorporates the sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS) basins.

More than 1,200 trees – including a range of native species such as beech, birch, hazel and willow – are being planted on the site along with extensive sowing of grasses and wild flowers to provide changing vistas throughout the seasons. Sculptural landforms and the use of different mowing in the parkland will create additional interest across the site.

The masterplan for the settlement provides a higher than usual proportion of open space at more than 62 hectares or 27% of the total site, which will accommodate formal recreational facilities and informal places for rest and relaxation, as well as natural, untamed areas that support biodiversity. Residents will have a wide range of different types of green space easily within reach that will provide a high level of amenity while supporting their physical and mental well being.

Grandhome will also connect with neighbouring communities through footpaths and cycle ways. The design of its open spaces will promote interaction between residents and neighbourhoods and the surrounding areas and landscape.

More than a decade of work by an international team of architects has gone into the development of Grandhome. The qualities of the existing landscape in and around the development site were a key influence on the masterplan. Worthwhile landscape features have been protected and the community’s design builds on the typical characteristics found locally to create a development with a strong sense of place, rooted in the particular context of urban and rural Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Landscape architecture consultancy Benton Scott-Simmons has advised the master plan team since the beginning of the project. Director Janet Benton said the work under way is a statement of intent for the role that green space will play in the community.

“We are pleased to be delivering a significant amount of new green space in the first phase of the community, including the formal greens that frame the entrance to the community and a large area of parkland to the west,” she said.

“These areas are just the beginning of a much wider network of green space that will connect neighbourhoods within the new development and link them to the existing communities nearby, as well as to the wider landscape.

“The work underway involves major earth shaping, and over the next six months more than 1,200 trees will be planted and grasses and wildflower mixes sown to establish both formal and more naturalistic elements that will frame the first homes and provide amenity for new and existing residents. By introducing a richer range of habitats in the landscape there will also be a net gain in terms of ecological and environmental benefits.”