University of Exeter – Moberly House
Student Residential Development
Services: Landscape Design, Ecological Assessment, BREEAM Assessment and EPSM licence holders
Contract Value: £17,000,000
The Landmark Practice has worked on a number of major schemes for the University of Exeter. The proposal at Moberly House involved the demolition of an existing halls of residence and the construction of a replacement halls providing 251 student beds, together with associated external spaces and landscape.
The Landmark Practice was commissioned to provide the landscape design, Ecological Assessment, act as the Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE) in relation to the BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 Assessment, and hold the European Protected Species Mitigation (EPSM) Licence for the scheme.
Moberly House is located within a steep sloping site and is bordered by hedges on the eastern and southern boundaries. Significant trees are present, namely western red cedars on both the northern and eastern boundaries. The landscape design for the site intends to maximise use and enjoyment of the external spaces by students, whilst accommodating various building operational requirements such as permanent and temporary parking bays, accessible parking, electric car hook ups, fire tender access, refuse collection, window cleaning, building maintenance, bike and bin stores. Set over a number of levels, the design also navigates the sloping nature of the site whilst ensuring inclusive accessibility. Where possible, the mature boundary trees have been retained in order to conserve the existing landscape quality and to embed the proposed building into its setting. Where tree removal has occurred, mitigation tree and hedge planting has been installed.
Ecology and BREEAM assessment
A suite of ecology surveys including Phase 1 habitat, bat emergence/re-entry and bat activity surveys were undertaken, resulting in the identification of several common and soprano pipistrelle roosts. A EPSM Licence was sought from Natural England to allow the works to proceed.
The mitigation strategy included specification for sensitive demolition of the building, to be overseen by a bat licensed ecologist from Landmark; and any vegetation removal to be undertaken outside of the nesting bird season (or be preceded by a pre-commencement check) to avoid damage to, or destruction of, active bird nests.
Additionally, a number of measures were incorporated into the scheme design to mitigate adverse impacts to ecological features both within and directly adjacent to the site. Bat and bird boxes have been installed within the fabric of the new building.
Landmark’s landscape design output and ecological advice has ensured the creation of a sustainable and visually attractive student environment which respects the existing surroundings and is sensitive to the ecology on site. The scheme was successfully completed in summer 2020.
Architects: Willmore Iles Architects
Structural Engineer: Curtins Consulting Engineers
Mechanical and Electrical Engineer: Hulley & Kirkwood
Planning Consultant: WYG
Contractor: Vinci Construction