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Oxfordshire retirement village goes ahead with Environment Bank Biodiversity Units

Developer: Shiplake Meadows & Galliard Homes
Sector: Residential – retirement community
Region: London & South East

LPA: South Oxfordshire City Council
NCA: Chilterns

Habitat Bank: Emberton, Buckinghamshire
Biodiversity Unit: Grassland

About the development project

On behalf of Shiplake Meadows Limited, leading property developer Gailliard Homes required a suitable habitat restoration solution to secure planning permission for a community-orientated retirement village near Reading. Covering a six-acre space, the site will feature 65 new two- and three-bedroom homes alongside dedicated health care services and wellness facilities. 

The team behind the project carefully balanced the accessibility and mobility needs of the new site’s intended residents with the natural features of the surrounding landscape. In design, the new village will not only reflect local architectural character, but also retain key habitats such as a stunning orchard. 

By choosing to restore some habitats off-site, Shiplake Meadows will ensure that a net gain for nature will be achieved while green spaces on-site can be thoughtfully tailored to the needs of residents – with beautiful landscaping and vegetable gardens to be enjoyed.

Straightforward sales process for off-site BNG

After minimising their on-site impacts as far as possible and exhausting all possible options for on-site BNG delivery, Shiplake Meadows required off-site Biodiversity Units to satisfy the terms of its biodiversity enhancement strategy. 

Working in collaboration with real estate advisors at Avison Young, we were able to provide an appropriate solution within a couple of weeks. Our off-site Units would allow Shiplake Meadows to discharge the conditions of their planning appeal and, once approved, this would enable on-site work to commence in due course. 

Our Principal Planner, Lloyd Collins, who helped manage the entire sales process, also delivered a bespoke BNG training session to the team at Avison Young. This workshop gave a comprehensive overview of BNG delivery and its complexities, placing Avison Young in a better position to provide their clients with specialist advice.

A meaningful BNG solution

Following the purchase, we were able to issue a Biodiversity Unit Certificate for Shiplake Meadows. This certificate provides suitable evidence to the local planning authority (LPA) that Shiplake Meadows has met its BNG requirements. 

BNG will be delivered for the next thirty years via off-site grassland Biodiversity Units from our Emberton Habitat Bank located within the site’s adjacent National Character Area (NCA). This site will be carefully monitored and maintained by our expert ecologists. 

Established in 2022, the Emberton Habitat Bank is strategically placed to play an effective role in increasing ecological connectivity across the region. We’re creating new habitats to complement the surrounding landscape, which features ancient woodland and other Local Wildlife Sites. 

Alongside the grassland Units we’ve provided to Shiplake Meadows, the Habitat Bank also features a diverse mix of lowland meadows, mixed scrubland, and species-rich hedgerows – transforming the existing degraded arable fields into a thriving space for nature.

Emberton Habitat Bank visualisation

One of the greatest benefits of having a network of live Habitat Banks is that we can readily offer high-quality Biodiversity Units to developers such as Galliard Homes. We are delighted that our BNG solution will enable such important work to go ahead. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone at Shiplake Meadows and Avison Young for working with us.

Lloyd Collins
Account Director – Planning & Delivery
Environment Bank

Find out the cost and availability of Biodiversity Units for your development