Manchester-based CW Studio has designed a landscape masterplan for a sustainable residential and commercial development, set in the Cheshire countryside. 

Developer Hall & Co has submitted the planning application for Flora, in Henbury, near Macclesfield, to extend its current garden and home furnishings centre to build a new food hall, as well as 14 residential properties with residential, shared and commercial growing gardens. 

CW Studio has worked with Manchester-based architect Ollier Smurthwaite to create a landscape masterplan for the scheme, which will go before Cheshire East Council’s planning committee. The landscape masterplan takes in five distinct areas, including the communal green; orchard and meadow; edible garden; private gardens and the commercial unit called FarmFolk.

The development aims to create a new model for sustainable living, taking inspiration from the village’s agricultural past. The residential part of the development has been inspired by farmsteads, with shared orchards, wildflower meadows and allotments. The developer wants to appeal to people who put sustainability first and want to live in harmony with nature.

The central community hub has a feature flexible workspace, a farm shop, a food hall for communal dining and stalls for local vendors. It is the heart of this new sustainable housing development designed to encourage communal living.

Carolyn Willitts, director of CW Studio, said, “The landscape masterplan seeks to bring together contemporary living with sustainability for those who want to live closer to nature. The allotments, orchards and communal gardens will create a strong community and both the planting palette and landscaping have been selection to create year-round interest, as well as ecological benefits for wildlife and insects. 

“There is a very strong focus on increasing biodiversity throughout the whole scheme which is really important for our environment and wildlife. This is such a beautiful part of the Cheshire countryside, so it’s exciting to see Flora grow its offering and set up the stunning food hall, with associated edible garden.” 

Matt Ollier, director of Ollier Smurthwhaite, said, “Sustained periods of lockdown have made homeowners acutely aware of what they want from a new home. This site offers an opportunity to put a lot of fresh thinking into place. Generous communal gardens with shared food growing, orchards, wildflower meadows and a community green, combined with a new local shop, café and flexible workspace, will provide opportunities for a better work/life balance.”


Jamie Hall, projects director at Hall & Co, said: “Flora Henbury is a completely new concept in sustainable living, with home, workspace and community space co-existing within a tranquil countryside setting.


“It offers a very desirable, unique way of living and working that we know is particularly appealing to the younger generations who are keen to live in closer harmony with nature and are very conscious of their individual impact on the environment.”

The communal green sits in the middle of the residential development with a cluster of mature trees and surrounded by colourful swathes of seasonal bulbs and wildflowers. Planted swales to store surface water and native hedges will be planted to add further biodiversity and provide boundaries. An edible garden based upon the practice of permaculture, will sit next to the café and supply it with fruit, herbs and vegetables throughout the year. 

To the north of the site, a small orchard is proposed within a meadow of mown paths and a circular path for residents to stroll round. Further native hedgerows will be established along the boundary to the surrounding farmland with hedgerow trees connecting to existing trees and understorey layers that will be retained as part of the development.

The species of fruit tree chosen includes plums and damsons, pears, cherries and apples. The hedgerow will be made up of a range of native woody species such as hawthorn, blackthorn, field maple, hazel, spindle, wayfaring tree and wild service tree. 


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