We provided landscape consultancy and visualisation services to help secure planning consent for the redevelopment of Bray Film Studios.
Bray Film Studio is best known for the Hammer horror films of the 1950s and 60s. It continues to host major productions, including the recent Oscar-winning ‘Rocketman’ film biopic.
We provided a range of environmental design services to help our client develop a new development masterplan for the Studio.
The masterplan will deliver new multi-production space with supporting workshops and ancillary buildings. The plan also secures the future of facilities operating under temporary planning permissions.
The Studio occupies approximately 14ha of Green Belt land on the south bank of the River Thames. It includes a Grade II Listed property – Down Place, dating from 1750 – with further residential properties bordering to the east.
Today, the Studio is a dynamic site, reacting to different production requirements year by year.
We undertook a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) to understand the Site’s existing character and visual sensitivities. Our work helped to ensure that the development reacts positively to landscape character and views.
Our landscape design team developed a Green Infrastructure strategy underpinning the emerging masterplan. The strategy integrates valued trees and ecological assets within beautifully designed new spaces. The plan facilitates opportunities for outdoor production, parking, and staff and visitor amenity.
Our proposals retain and protect important habitats. We supported the Project Ecologist in their Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) assessment by defining and measurable habitats compatible with Natural England’s Biodiversity Metric.
The proposed masterplan also retains and protects several high-quality trees. These were integrated into the masterplan as site assets. Several poor quality trees with little wildlife value were selected for removal, making room for significant new tree planting. A wide range of new tree species will provide greater resilience to climate change, including future pests and pathogens. New trees will provide wildlife value, shade, and structure, and help to deliver attractive, clear, and legible spaces within the site. The new main arterial road running through the site is to become a prominent tree-lined street.
We worked with the Project Architect to challenge and test the evolving building massing to minimise visual impacts. A key element in the site’s visual mitigation was the retention of an existing tree belt on the site’s eastern boundary. To the south, our plan extends this existing vegetation to flank the new site entrance, supplemented with earth mounds to aid visual screening from public views.
Through the pre-application process, we worked Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council to agree on an appropriate degree of ‘openness’ along the Windsor Road boundary. As such, the built form is set well back from the Highway, providing space for the earth bunds and new native woodland planting. The existing landscape character along Windsor Road is respected with wide, open verges of wildflower planting. To the west, new native woodland planting will help to provide a ‘green curtain’ around the built development.
The LVIA considered the existing landscape character of the site and its setting, as well as the visual openness of the Green Belt. We noted a range of landscape and visual effects, including landscape design benefits, especially along Windsor Road frontage.
The Verified Visual Montages (VVMs) that we prepared illustrate the landscape enhancements over time. As the proposed planting matures, our work shows how the new buildings would become well integrated into the local landscape and wider setting.
Our work on the Film Studio continues our involvement at the site, including proposals for the restoration of the original Listed building at Down Place.
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