Langarth Garden Village
A new sustainable, community-led masterplan, in the heart of Cornwall
Bringing together one unified masterplan, on a site with challenging history and topography, Langarth Garden Village prioritises people and community over everything.
Collaboration and exemplary stakeholder engagement from the outset has ensured the masterplan addresses the needs and requirements of everyone. Nurturing wellbeing, prioritising sustainability, the development integrates and retains as much natural green spaces as possible, encouraging residents to spend more time outdoors.
The biggest project Cornwall Council has ever achieved permission for, Langarth forms part of wider strategy for the area to support local infrastructure and improve residents’ quality of life.
A clear vision that fosters a strong sense of identity
Langarth has a long and complex history, with a number of private developers having been granted planning permission across various areas of the site. Yet, there was no clear vision on what to do with the land, this led to Cornwall Council taking the decision to intervene and appoint a multi-disciplinary team.
Our job was to take all the different schemes and create one cohesive masterplan. With the priority to take the pressure off local services and provide much needed housing, through a new vibrant, connected community for around 10,000 residents.
To meet a wide range of needs, we were also instructed to create a design code. Knitting together all future development on the site, with surrounding villages, establishing one identity regardless of who or when it’s taken forward.
Working with challenging topography to create character
The complexity not only lies in the history, but also the topography with a significantly sloping north facing site. As well as a North Access Road (NAR) which runs through the middle and could be neither changed or moved.
We identified early on that splitting the land into character areas, allowing buildings to be stepped or split level where necessary would address the natural slope. Whilst also creating unique and interesting areas that reflect the true personality of Cornwall.
To address the north facing areas, we specified in our design code that buildings must be orientated west or east to get the best of the sun in winter and shade in summer. None of our recommendations are constrained to residential buildings and are to be considered against every building type across the masterplan.
An exemplar of community involvement
Over 200 public engagements
The community has led our masterplanning approach and we have worked closely with the stakeholder panel, local councillors, delivered workshops at schools and youth groups as well as establishing working groups across sectors from tourism, business, community, environment, transport, education, health and wellbeing.
We have delivered presentations, taking them through the whole process from our vision, concepts, emerging options and finally the preferred masterplan. Updates on the scheme continue to be sent via a monthly e-newsletter to several hundred recipients across the local area.
The groups were also involved in the optioneering process. Three options were developed that differed by the number of centres/village centres the masterplan was structured around. Option three provided maximum development flexibility, health and wellbeing benefits and was therefore more deliverable.
We developed the 10 design principles that informed the masterplan and are to be adhered to through any future development of the area.
From this, the design code focuses on the characteristics desired for each area and stipulates design rules for all features considered critical to achieving them.
Building a design legacy for future development
Our design code leaves nothing to the imagination, clearly establishing principles for every part of the masterplan to inspire the quality of any future development. Variety is a key element of the code to ensure distinctiveness across different neighbourhoods and creating legibility and wayfinding, both integral to the scheme. However, the design code is not only for designers and developers, it will equally assist the Planning Authority in determining future applications and their compliance with the principles.
Retaining existing greenery to support healthy living
Our masterplan takes full advantage of the natural countryside location, retaining as much greenery as possible. We used the hedgerows and country lanes to create ‘natural breaks’ between the character areas, designating five local centres, providing hubs of community activity and connecting each neighbourhood.
This approach will help to integrate the Village into the wider area, supporting local wildlife and encouraging residents in living better through easily accessible green space.
A new era of placemaking in Cornwall
The Brake Neighbourhood
Closest to the existing countryside areas overlooking wetland and woodland, the neighbourhood reflects a countryside character through houses with larger private gardens.
West Langarth Neighbourhood
Marking the western arrival into the Village, the character of this neighbourhood is a contemporary interpretation of a garden suburb with development fronting Langarth Park.
The central part of the Garden Village, enhancing community activity. Langarth Square is the focal point with retail and apartments defining a modest village square.
The area is defined by the ridge between the Langarth and Treliske valleys, with strong historical and cultural links, a new primary school and community hall or library.
Willow Green Neighbourhood
Close to existing amenities including the hospital and college, the focus is on research and learning. For people travelling west it's their first impression of Langarth Garden Village.
Centred around the Penventinnie Square, the neighbourhood connects the new development with strong links into the existing hospital, employment and retail area.
Designing for climate change resilience
Through a series of sustainable design standards, we have provided the roadmap to help achieve a zero carbon highly sustainable development suitable for future living.
We have graded the standards in three tiers; Silver, Gold and Platinum. This gives developers the option to choose what to target, whilst also anticipating the lower standards becoming obsolete as we move towards our carbon neutral targets.
As part of our work, we have designed a renewable energy centre and thermal store, which will play a key role in delivering Cornwall Council’s climate change strategy. With over 17,500 kilowatts of green energy generated a year at Langarth, the energy centre will provide storage for the green energy produced and allow surplus energy to be supplied back to the grid.
Delivery and Phasing
Prioritising key social infrastructure
Given the nature and scale of the project, we proposed a phased approach over approximately 17 years. A key principle of the Garden Village is to ensure key social infrastructure is delivered at an early stage, to provide access and facilities for the future community. The phasing strategy allows for the development to significantly contribute towards Truro’s housing needs while being careful not to saturate the housing market with over supply.
The proposal is for the masterplan to be developed around the NAR and the village centres followed by completing the frontage during Phases 2 & 3. The development will continue to grow in both an eastern and western direction during Phases 4 and 5.
Truro, TR4 9AN
Zero Carbon (targeting)
200 extra care homes
50 student accommodation units
Winner - Michelmores Property Awards Masterplanning for the Future 2021
Winner - Building with Nature Design Award 2021
Shortlisted - Constructing Excellence South West Integration & Collaborative Working Award 2021
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