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Masterplan Briefly Aerial Fly Through

Red Tree welcomes decision on Sherford by Planning Committee

25 April 2008

The delivery of Sherford passed a significant milestone on April 23 as South Hams District Council’s Development Control Committee followed Plymouth on April 15 and Devon at the end of last year in endorsing the planning application submitted by Red Tree.

The passing of the ‘Resolution to Grant’ by the District is the culmination of a lengthy planning process that has involved widespread debate and consultation.

Speaking about the decision, James Koe, partner at Red Tree, commented:

“Following such protracted debate over the last few years, I welcome the decision which gives Red Tree not only the right to take development forward but an enormous responsibility to deliver a community that the region can be proud of. A proposal on this scale is a major undertaking and has involved the engagement of an enormous number of individuals and groups all of whom have committed time, skill and patience to the challenge. The process is far from over and we look forward to moving into the next phase of this project and are keeping the door to positive involvement firmly open.

“It is not every day that you get approval to build a town, subject of course to very detailed conditions, and this is a unique opportunity to show what can be done if the right skill-sets and passion are focussed on the job. Our task is to ensure that Sherford is a community which will be vibrant and a place in which people love to live and work. It is a very beautiful Devon valley on the edge of the Moor, a stone’s throw to one of the most wonderful coastlines in England and also an integral part of reinvigorating the city of Plymouth. There can be fewer more exiting development projects in the country.”

Hank Dittmar, Chief Executive of the The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, the masterplanners for Sherford, said: “It’s a credit to all involved in the Sherford project that the South Hams and Plymouth now stand to inherit an outstanding example of traditional urban design that is bound to positively benefit generations of people to come.

“The work of the design team, including our Senior Fellow Paul Murrain, and Director of Design Theory Ben Bolgar has been tireless in pursuit of a beautiful and environmentally sensitive place that will pay dividends socially, economically and ecologically. The Prince’s Foundation looks forward to continued involvement in assuring ongoing quality delivery and to embracing Sherford within our portfolio of projects that will teach and exemplify good urbanism nationally and internationally.”

The application documents for Sherford have been scrutinised in detail by independent experts, statutory bodies and planning authorities themselves across a very wide range of specialist and technical fields. An independent assessment of its environmental sustainability and energy efficiency by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) concluded that the ‘highly commendable’ proposals were rated ‘Exemplar’ - the first time that such a distinction has been awarded to a planning application on this scale.

In making their decision today, the Members must have taken some comfort also from the fact that following more than four years of detailed dialogue and public consultation there were relatively few objectors to the proposals. A total of 29 letters of representation were received by members of the public, a number of which were in support. This is testament to the levels of community engagement from The Prince’s Foundation led Enquiry by Design, Community Steering Group and the many public events and workshops that have been hosted both by Red Tree and the planning authorities.

Importantly, Sherford is the first planning application of this scale to receive approval under the new Local Development Framework system. The detailed planning process for Sherford began with an Enquiry by Design held in 2004. Following this, South Hams District Council published the Sherford Area Action Plan (a Sherford specific development plan document) Issues and Options in October 2004. Preferred Options was published in June 2005 and Submission Stage in June 2006. Following an Examination in January to April 2007 by the Planning Inspectorate the Sherford AAP was adopted in August 2007.

Plymouth City Council followed a similar timescale for the North Plymstock Area Action Plan, which covers the south west corner of Sherford, also adopting their Area Action Plan in August 2007.

James Koe commented: “We have found it very interesting to be at the forefront of the new LDF process. No new process is perfect, but if you look at the timeline from the start of the detailed planning process to receiving Resolution to Grant for this major planning application for a new town, the ‘flash to bang’ was under four years. It can seem like a lifetime but it is quite an achievement for all involved”.

Red Tree now looks forward to continuing to work closely with South Hams District Council Plymouth City Council and Devon County Council in refining and concluding the planning agreement for Sherford and in parallel putting in place the elements necessary to implement a planning permission. Subject to this, Red Tree would commence development on the site in late 2008, early 2009.

For background:

The Sherford planning application is for:

Provision of up to 5,500 new dwellings; up to 67,000 squares metres of business and commercial space; up to 16,740 square metres of mixed retail accommodation, community and open space facilities; three primary schools and one secondary school; health care centre; community park; two community wind turbines; park and ride interchange at Deep Lane, together with details of the Main Street link between Deep Lane junction (A38) and Stanborough Cross (A379).

The new community at Sherford will deliver:

  • A truly sustainable urban extension of up to 5,500 high quality new homes based on the logic of a traditional market town, as well as up to 7,000 new jobs
  • A key component of Plymouth’s regeneration and will provide both a clearly defined and defensible limit of the city’s eastward expansion and also the capacity for further expansion westwards as required by the Devon Structure Plan
  • A substantial and immediate contribution towards the infrastructure of Plymouth City’s Eastern Corridor including the High Quality Public Transport (HQPT) strategy - providing both the opportunity to reduce car trips from the development itself and to remove traffic from the A38 including:
    • Improvements to Deep Lane junction including a new west-bound on slip provided in the first phase of development
    • Provision of a Park & Ride with the initial capacity to handle 1,000 cars in the first phase of development
    • Delivery of the entire 3.5 km of HQPT route connecting the A38 with the A379 before the first housing completions
    • Improvements to Stanborough Cross roundabout in the first phase of development
    • An urban form that is based on a town centre which features what will be the first High Street developed in over a century. This will include a Town Hall and square, Health Centre and all the shopping, civic and cultural facilities that you would expect to find in a traditional Devonian market town
  • Residential areas that all have walkable access to neighbourhood centres, the Main Street and public transport, sports, education, healthcare, youth and recreational facilities
  • A 207 hectare Community Park, equivalent in size to around 300 football pitches
  • A ‘Design Code’ that ensures outstanding and consistent standards of design are provided throughout Sherford
  • High levels of on-site renewable energy generation, including two proposed community wind turbines and, among other technologies, small-scale combined heat and power (CHP)

Notes to Editors

Red Tree is a single purpose vehicle established solely to develop Sherford through a consensus led approach that avoids the conventional methodology for developing and managing new housing growth. Red Tree, which was set up in partnership with the Royal Bank of Scotland and the multi-disciplinary design and planning practice Scott Wilson broadened its delivery capabilities in 2006 with the introduction to the partnership of an investment and construction company, Cannon Kirk Developments, who considerably strengthen the delivery capabilities of Red Tree. Cannon Kirk, a highly valued addition to the team, has extensive experience in delivering major infrastructure and housing development projects in Ireland, the UK and also now in Europe.

The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, the masterplanners for Sherford, is an educational charity established by The Prince of Wales to teach and demonstrate in practice principles of traditional urban design and architecture which put people and communities at the centre of the design process. More information about the work of The Prince’s Foundation can be found at

For more information contact

John Casey
Deborah Clark Associates
01872 276276
Mobile: 07796 615864

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