Landscape firms appointed for airfield site

Bradley Murphy Design among companies signed up in contract for Cambridgeshire site.

Alconbury: development plans - image: Urban & Civic
Alconbury: development plans - image: Urban & Civic

Growing landscape-architecture practice Bradley Murphy Design has secured a role on a project to regeneration the Alconbury Airfield site in Cambridgeshire.

David Locke Associates (masterplanner), Gillespies and Parkwood Consultancy Services (landscape), ADAS and Lock Hart Garrett (ecology and trees) are also involved in the project.

The 575ha former RAF and United States Air Force airfield is being transformed in a 20-year project by private equity-backed property company Urban & Civic. It will have 283ha of green space, 5,000 homes, businesses and integrated transport.

The company was founded in 2009 with the express aim of enabling and delivering developments in key growth areas of the UK. It wants to build a 150ha low-carbon enterprise campus that will create 8,000 jobs.

Laura Bradley, founder of Bradley Murphy Design, said: "What's great about it is there's an opportunity to be part of something that's going to be transformational."

Bradley Murphy Design has grown from Bradley and Ryan Murphy working from a rented cottage last year to employing 11 staff, four of whom have been recruited in the past month. The practice is doubling its space in Hatton, Warwickshire.

Bradley, previously of Aspect Planning, and Murphy, formerly of Roger Griffiths Associates, have secured much of their work so far through recommendation and reputation.

"We started off in the recession but we're seeing lots of new stuff coming up in the market now and we're increasingly busy," said Bradley. "The next year will be very important to us."

Alconbury Airfield Site ownership history

The site was originally established as an airfield on farmland in 1938. A squadron flew its first raid on 10 May 1940 against a German-occupied airfield near Rotterdam.

From 1959 it was used as a United States Air Force (USAF) air base to fly a variety of missions throughout the Cold War. During the first Iraq War, Alconbury sent some of the first American planes to the Gulf.

In 1995, the USAF returned the base to the Ministry of Defence. ProLogis bought the site with BAA Lyton. It applied to the council to make it into a freight interchange. Urban & Civic then bought the site in 2009.

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