'Start with a Park'

Countesswells is a new community to the west of Aberdeen which has been planned as a new place, encompassing around 3000 homes and 10 hectares of employment land. Since 2011, OPEN has been instrumental in all aspects of the design and delivery of Countesswells, from early masterplanning work which allowed the adoption of Supplementary Guidance into Local Plan Policy and securing Planning Permission in Principle to the landscape design of enabling infrastructure, detail design of major parkland spaces and architectural design of initial housing phases.

The landscape approach to Countesswells has been fundamental to the shaping of the new settlement. In many ways it could be said that Countesswells has been a landscape led project. The whole place is set around a distinctive series of public parks and squares, well connected with pathways, cycle routes and bridleways that link new schools, leisure and health facilities as well as retail and business space. One of the first major projects on the site was the creation of the first phase of the Cults Burn Park – some 3ha of the total 11ha burn park -prior to any other development being completed. The Cults burn connects the context of the site from east to west and north to south, bisecting the development area and setting the principal agenda for how future development interacts with this ecological and biodiverse park. The Countesswells Masterplan transforms what is essentially a relatively inert and mundane tract of low-grade agricultural land with limited biodiversity into a new settlement which uses new landscape spaces and a high quality and biodiverse environment to structure the new place and connect to woodland resources around the site. The aim of the project has been to establish a community with a sense of place and to properly create this it needs more than just houses; the plan encompasses schools, shops, employment areas, open usable and programmed areas with opportunities designed for meeting and holding events.

Good quality greenspace, like that which is planned for Countesswells, has massive recognised benefits to the health and wellbeing of the community through environmental, social, and economic influences. These benefits were at the forefront of the design and implementation programme when Countesswells was planned.

“Wow! Countesswells is just splendid. It’s so refreshing as well as impressive to see the genuine commitment to building a real sense of place by putting the community at the very heart of the project. The thoughtful attention to detail of the many, open green spaces is unique among developments of this scale and initiatives like the community orchard will ensure that residents learn about growing, nurturing and eating their landscapes.”
Pamela Warhurst CBE, founder of Incredible Edible

© Crown copyright and database rights 2011 Ordnance Survey 0100031673. Aerial imagery © 2012 Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky. © 2012 The GeoInformation Group

Countesswells Landscape
Countesswells Development Limited (CDL)
Landscape Architecture