St Bartholomews School, Newbury

Disciplines involved:

Following successful support to the planning application for this circa £40 million replacement school, EDP were retained to deliver detailed landscape proposals in fulfilment of planning conditions attached to the consent.


The application committed the scheme to ‘BREEAM Excellent’, and this required a fully native scheme to be prepared to maximise the credits achieved in respect of ecology and landscape. Set against this requirement for a naturalistic landscape approach was the school’s aspiration to present a contemporary and ‘well groomed’ face to the outside world. Furthermore, the ultra-modern architectural proposals, which included a huge PTFE canopy of a central ‘outside-inside’ courtyard, resulted in a sequence of five separate courtyard spaces each with a distinct microclimate and separate functional intentions of sport, technology, science, drama and energy.


EDP’s scheme utilised an entirely native palette of perennials, shrubs and trees. Fruit trees were included to create a school orchard and specialist beds were provided offering plants with medicinal properties and those that can be used for preparing dyes and pigments. In addition, EDP influenced the design of the drainage system for the site, allowing for the creation of a substantial wildlife pond and associated habitat areas. This feature was designed such that water levels fluctuated with rainfall levels and could be monitored by students exploring topics such as climate change, biodiversity and physical geography.


Beyond, or rather above, the wider school grounds scheme, the roof of the school offered circa 3000m2 of extensive green roofing, which EDP designed and specified. To minimise management and avoid concerns over fire risk associated with meadow grass roofs, a biodiverse sedum mix was selected and applied as ‘plugs’ across the whole roof area to minimise expenditure and maximise establishment.



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