Tree Survey, Planning and Site Supervision for Residential Development: Waterbeach

Project: Using the natural infrastructure for re-development of former RAF barracks, and entirely brownfield site into a new settlement.

Wharton Natural Advisers: Sebastian Onslow, Senior Arboricultural Consultant, Peter Wharton, Director.

Project Team: Urban&Civic; David Lock Associates (Planning), BMD (Landscape & Ecology), Stantec (formerly Peter Brett Associates) (Infrastructure) and Aecom (Costs), Fletcher Priest Associates (Design), Wharton Natural Infrastructure Consultants (Arboriculture).

This development scheme that has been shortlisted for this year’s Planning Awards 2020, entered by Urban&Civic, please visit the detailed project profile for Waterbeach Barracks which has been shortlisted for – Planning Permission of the Year.

Tree Survey, Planning and Site Supervision for Residential Development: Waterbeach

Scope/scale of project:
In August 2014, Urban&Civic Plc were appointed as Development Partner to DIO (Defence Infrastructure Organisation) to redevelop the 290 hectare (716 acre) former airfield and barracks site at Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire.  The site constitutes the western two thirds of a new settlement allocated by South Cambridgeshire District Council through their Local Plan process, which has a capacity for 8,000 to 9,000 homes.

Wharton, were appointed by BMD through Urban&Civic to provide the full suite arboricultural services to inform design and layout in relation to the existing trees on site and have worked alongside the project design team of Fletcher Priest Architects, David Lock Associates, Stantec (formerly Peter Brett Associates) and a wide range of other partners since the outset of the project.


  • Tree survey and tree constraints plan detailing root protection areas and tree
    categorisation for individual trees
  • Undertake full tree risk management strategy, whilst site is in use
  • Highlight trees of significant value to ensure they are suitably considered
  • Highlight trees of lesser value which may be considered for removal
  • Lead discussions regarding constraints posed by trees
  • Prepare arboricultural planning statements to support future outline planning
    applications, as each area of the site comes forward to planning
  • Prepare woodland management plans
  • Oversee arboricultural works

waterbeach barracks

Working in collaboration with Urban & Civic and the project team comprising; David Lock Associates (planning), BMD (landscape), Peter Brett Associates (infrastructure) and Aecom (costs), Fletcher Priest Associates (design), we were commissioned to prepare a planning statement to support development across a 300 hectare site. This early involvement enabled the development of a suitable solution reducing the impact on trees and ensuring their successful integration into the final design.

Since the submission of our plans and completed tree schedule, containing over 1200 individual, 250 groups and 10 woodlands, we are now working with the wider project team to design suitable layouts for the complete site for future planning applications.

Our involvement came via recommendation from BMD, based on previous success in collaborating with large development teams and the ability discharge large-scale site instructions.

Planning status:
An outline planning application was submitted jointly by the Secretary of State for Defence and Urban&Civic to South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) in February 2017, who, during a specially constituted Planning Committee on 13th May 2019, resolved to grant permission for 6,500 new homes and associated employment, transport, educational, health and community uses.  Formal planning permission was granted by SCDC on the 27th September 2019, following the completion of the associated Section 106 agreement.

Waterbeach Barracks & Airfield is the culmination of long-term partnerships between the Client, the design team, local authorities and a cast of stakeholders and consultees that will create a unique and exciting place to live and work.

Wharton are currently working on the detailed arboricultural planning statements and design of Key Phase 1 and construction is due to commence on site later this year, with first occupations anticipated in 2022/23.

Other Case Studies