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Local school puts down roots in Kidbrooke Village

November 2013

Berkeley teamed up with London Wildlife Trust and a local school to plant a new avenue of rare trees at Kidbrooke Village.

The Black Poplar is listed in the Royal Borough of Greenwich Biodiversity Action Plan as a species that the council is working hard to reintroduce into the area to battle a growing decline in numbers in recent years. These trees have been planted by pupils of the Holy Family Catholic Primary School in the newly-created Cator Park, which borders the newest phases of the development, Blackheath Quarter and Meridian Gate. The 20 hectare park is beautifully landscaped to provide a leafy retreat in the growing Royal Borough of Greenwich suburb, positioned only 15 minutes from London Bridge by train.

Mathew Frith, Director of Policy and Planning for London Wildlife Trust, commented: "Our aim is to protect the capital's wildlife and natural spaces, and where possible to enhance them. We welcome Berkeley's vision in supporting our aim and we are thrilled to have planted black poplar trees in Kidbrooke alongside pupils from The Holy Family Catholic Primary School. Together we are helping to ensure that this majestic, native species continues to grow in the Royal Borough of Greenwich."

John Anderson, Chairman of Berkeley Homes (East Thames), comments: "Promoting biodiversity at Kidbrooke Village is an important part of ensuring that our development has a  minimal impact on the surrounding area, and planting these rare trees is just one of the ways that we are working with our partners to ensure that our legacy is a positive one. Our thanks go to the London Wildlife Trust and The Holy Family Catholic Primary School for joining us today to mark the occasion."

Liz Harris, Headteacher from The Holy Family Catholic Primary School, comments: "This was a great experience for the children who enjoyed planting and learning about the Black Poplar in their local park. We are very grateful to Berkeley and the London Wildlife Trust for giving us this opportunity and it was a very enjoyable lesson for the children."

The Black Poplar is Britain's rarest native timber tree and there are only a few thousand veteran trees remaining. Typically, the trees flourish alongside streams and rivers with arching, down-curved branches. Apart from recently planted cuttings, most Black Poplars are thought to be in excess of 100 years old with perhaps the oldest reaching over 300 years in age. 

In designing Kidbrooke Village, Berkeley has followed their ambitious framework for running a sustainable business called Vision2020. This involves the developer designing and building homes and communities that encourage a more sustainable and improved quality of life for residents and surrounding communities.

More than just aesthetically pleasing, considered landscaping is an important aspect of enhancing the natural environment, encouraging wildlife and biodiversity, and protecting homes from the elements. At Kidbrooke Village, the former brownfield site has been improved drastically and an impressive 50%, or 55 hectares, of the scheme has been reserved for green open spaces. Existing mature trees have been retained wherever possible and living green and brown roofs also provide a valuable habitat.

Sutcliffe Park, a neighbouring 35-acre park, will link into Kidbrooke Village and provide recreational areas including play area and outdoor exercise equipment aimed at older users. The park also features an athletics track used by renowned running club, Cambridge Harriers, whose alumni include a number of former Olympians, including Steve Backley.

The Environment Agency has also opened up the River Quaggy, previously buried and confined to culverts, allowing it to flood parts of the park and turn it into a wetland, attracting a variety of wildlife including herons, kingfishers, snipe, reed warblers, dragonflies and damselflies.

For more information about the homes available at Kidbrooke Village, visit the sales and marketing suite on Weigall Road, off Kidbrooke Park Road, SE3 9YY - open daily from 10am to 6pm, with a late night opening on Thursdays until 8pm. Alternatively, visit www.kidbrookevillage.co.uk

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