8. Environment and Design

The wider environment within which the SportsHub MK sits is as important as the buildings themselves. Our masterplan aspires to create a new destination in this part of Milton Keynes, which is welcoming and easy to navigate around for both local users and visitors.

For example:

  • The entrance to the core area of the SportsHub will be a well-designed point of arrival, drawing people in towards the local square and on towards the hotel and driving range.
  • Rather than being a series of standalone sports units, the SportsHub itself has been designed to provide activity on the ground floors, with tree lined streets and the potential for green walls, so that the outside environments are as welcoming as the inside.
  • Elsewhere within the site, the layout of the golf course and hotel has been designed to maximise its south-westerly aspect and enhance the existing environmental assets within the site.

In addition, we are proposing a balanced mix of housing within the new residential development area, with the aim of establishing a ‘community’ which feels part of Far Bletchley and the Fairways area, not separate from it.

Opportunities for Ecological and Environmental Enhancements

There are a number of opportunities within the scheme for ecological and environmental enhancement which will maximise its value for both people and wildlife.

Potential opportunities for ecological enhancement that could be built into the scheme at the detailed design stage include:

  • Planting of orchard trees and species and creation of new native hedgerows to help facilitate the aims of the Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes BAP habitats;
  • Designing the waterbodies within the golf courses with ecological principles;
  • Having the driving range as ground-lit rather than floodlit as currently, to reduce light pollution (important for surrounding residential properties but also for local wildlife);
  • Provision of wildflower meadows within golf course, with management based on ecological principles. This would help facilitate the aims of the Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes BAP for ‘lowland meadow’ habitat;
  • Using native species as part of new tree/shrub planting;
  • Bolster existing boundary features to increase ecological connectivity around the site;
  • Incorporating high yielding nectar and pollen species within the planting strategy, as wel as those that absorb pollution;
  • Creation of butterfly banks within golf course;
  • Planting strips along bases of new buildings;
  • Appropriate native planting within amenity areas and shared spaces;
  • Incorporating climbing plants supported by wires on building walls;
  • Introducing ground-level cut-outs in garden fences/walls to enable Hedgehog (a Priority Species) to move through new development areas;
  • Incorporating bat roosting and bird nesting opportunities within new buildings / on retained trees, and bee bricks within buildings and walls; and
  • Incorporating bat-sensitive lighting.

There is also the potential to include features within the built elements of the scheme which enhance its environmental performance:

  • Introducing charging points for Electric Vehicles within parking areas and as part of the public square, as well as secure cycle parking and outdoor seating;
  • Grey infrastructure such as permeable pavements and roof water retention systems (which mimic the natural water retention capacity of the landscape and could help to restore more natural patterns of run-off and infiltration);
  • Water management measures which to mitigate the impact of the proposed development, such as demand management systems, Sustainable Drainage Systems, Rainwater Harvesting, Greywater Recycling and Wastewater Recycling;
  • Rainwater recycling, collected from the roof of buildings and stored in underground or overground tanks for reuse locally. The collected water may be used for garden watering or indoor non-potable uses, such as toilet flushing or hot water and laundry uses.