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AFL Architects Appointed on Lea Castle Masterplan Commission for Homes England

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AFL Architects is developing the vision for an area reserved for 1400 new homes following award through a competitive tendering process in which AFL supported Wood plc as strategic masterplanners.

The full site, known as Lea Castle Village, is under the ownership of Homes England and is split into a “core” and “wider” site in the Local Plan. The 53.46Ha of land under development by the practice, referred to as the wider Lea Castle site, encompasses three parcels to the north, east and west of a former hospital. The development will progress with reference to work carried out on the core site, an area allocated for 600 homes.

The future Lea Castle Village will be developed with a vision for it to be a sustainable, self-sufficient community for day-to-day life.

High quality homes will be delivered with a range of types, sizes and tenures in order to create a good mix within the village.

Alongside new homes, the wider site will provide a new primary school, local centre including retail, community facility and potential for a new GP surgery. Together with employment opportunities, good placemaking and improved connectivity, the plans will benefit both existing and new residents.

The project has been earmarked by the Secretary of State for Housing and Local Government as one of the pipeline exemplar projects to be used by the Ministry as a case study. This is an accolade which presents a unique opportunity for the team at AFL to embed their masterplanning and design approach into leading guidance within the industry.

"We are very pleased to be working with the team at Wood plc who we already have a strong working collaboration and with Homes England again on another commission that sustainably addresses the housing crisis. The site holds a number of compelling opportunities, particularly opening up mature green infrastructure to the new community, and we aim to do this in a way that preserves and improves upon the land. The team is committed to a swift, high-quality and deliverable development."
Stephen Stock, Director, AFL Architects

The principles of biodiversity net gain will be embedded within the design and development proposals for Lea Castle Village.

The mature woodland that surrounds the site will be used as a guide for the overall development vision. Together with significant structural green corridors, there is a unique opportunity to develop a strong woodland framework that can be accessed via new footpaths and cycle routes. Connectivity will be further enhanced with highway infrastructure and local traffic flow improvements.

The plans are being developed in close collaboration with Wyre Forest District Council, Worcestershire County Council, Cookley and Caunsall Neighbourhood Plan Group, Cookley Community Land Trust, local residents and businesses. Together with Homes England and Wood. AFL will be working to meet the highest design standards and to develop the site over the coming 12 months.

The aim is for an outline planning application to be submitted in the final quarter of 2021.

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