Regeneration projects offer valuable opportunities to adapt urban spaces to climate change. Through the land use planning system, schemes can employ innovative designs to avoid future flooding and improve areas for wildlife.
Planning for climate change adaptation must take many things into consideration. That’s because the natural environment is complex and needs to be managed in an integrated way.
Both flood risk and wider issues such as biodiversity and recreation have been taken into account in redevelopment plans for the Brent Cross shopping centre in London, next to the River Brent.
What we did and why
We have been working closely with the consultants Scott Wilson and partners of the Brent Cross Cricklewood project to make sure that flood risk and biodiversity are considered as part of the planning application.
Climate change predictions anticipate more heavy rainfall and higher river flows. The developers took this into account when they surveyed flood risk in the area. They used a computer model to look at the effects of climate change on flood risk for the site and then designed the development to ensure that areas at risk of flooding would remain undeveloped. This has also removed from the floodplain areas which currently flood – including parts of the A406 North Circular Road – as a result of the extra storage.
This undeveloped area will now become a riverside walkway and a green space as part of the river restoration scheme. And sustainable drainage, such as green roofs and permeable paving, will help to reduce surface water in times of heavy rain.
The River Brent, currently in a concrete channel will be realigned and restored to a more natural state, incorporating a wetland area. New bridges over the river will be designed so that they are unlikely to cause a blockage in a flood. The Clitterhouse Stream that feeds into the River Brent is also being included in the scheme. Its banks will be landscaped to provide flood storage.
Penelope Calver, Development and Flood Risk Engineer said: ‘Early discussions with the developers meant we could find a win-win solution for all involved. By working together we created a development which adapted the site for climate change and gave the community attractive recreational space, through the restoration of the river and increased flood storage. The results mean the development can go ahead with our approval.’
Who is involved
- Scott Wilson Group plc
- ERM Consultants
- Joseph Partners
- London Borough of Barnet