Category Archives: Projects

Newcastle Great Park NGP

RLD are acting as landscape architects for the Newcastle Great Park, a £600 million mixed development expansion of Newcastle, taking place on former Green Belt land on the north western edge of the City. The client is a consortium formed by Persimmon Homes and Bryant Homes. The practice worked with a mixed disciplinary team of planners, engineers and architects and helped to form the original development footprint for the scheme in the mid 1990s. The resultant masterplan was successfully able to withstand scrutiny at public inquiry and it formed the basis of one of the few Green Belt developments to win a planning consent from the Deputy Prime Minister. The practice is also involved in the remasterplanning of the scheme.

The masterplan is now being implemented in a ten year phased programme of landscape and earth moving contracts, the object of which is to create a riverine parkland along the line of the Ouseburn, a woodland corridor along the line of the A1 and a mosaic of accessible open ground to link these two areas. The net effect of these proposals will be to create a pattern of woodland between the existing woodlands of Woolsington Park and Gosforth Park, thus giving Newcastle up to eight kilometres of woodland landscape along its north western boundary. Special parkland areas such as the business park setting and the wetland along the Ouseburn give the city types of landscape it simply does not have elsewhere. Work has started on site.

The landscape capital works budget is approximately £1.69 million; the short-term management budget is £400,000; the long-term management budget is approximately £1.8 million; the value of the soil handling operations is approximately £3 million.

The value of the RLD commission for work on NGP since 1997 is approximately £300,000 and our role is ongoing.
Detailed design started in 2000 and operations started on site in 2001; the programme of works extends up to 2010.

Bilbao Spain

BilbaoJardin 2007 was an invitation to creative gardeners, landscape artists, architects and other creative people to create 20 new spaces in the city of Bilbao; 20 personal and creative conceptions of modern gardening. RLD’s project was successful in being chosen as one of the 20 projects selected in order to form a creative mesh within the city, allowing locals and visitors alike to enjoy a very special stroll throughout the different quarters of Bilbao and marvel at the garden projects participating in the contest. During the final stage of the contest, the projects will be assigned their corresponding spaces within the city of Bilbao.

St Nicholas’ Cathedral Square

NE1 in conjunction with Newcastle City Council, Robinson Landscape Design, and the St Nicholas Cathedral have lead the refurbishment of the public space that lies between Moseley Street and St Nicholas Cathedral as part of a citywide improvements scheme.

“St Nicholas Square has to be a part of the city that is also a part of the Cathedral.” We envisage the square as a single space, which entails the removal of existing boundaries, the raised plinth and the access lane. This will make the Cathedral visually more accessible from the streets and the streets part of the setting for the Cathedral. This is to be executed in a contemporary and uncluttered manner that takes its form from the rhythms and patterns of the Cathedral elevation and the 19th century Italianate building that stands on the eastern edge of the square. The use of bench walls of sandstone as seats will allow the square to become a daily usable seating space while retaining flexibility as an events area. The high quality of materials used at The Monument will be reflected in this design through the use of sandstone and granite.

Removal of the existing plinth is crucial in opening up the square. The loss of the existing trees is therefore unavoidable. A more controlled line of planting with trees will be created so that there would continue to be a planting barrier to the main traffic junction, but not so great an obstruction to views of the cathedral from the Groat Market. The introduction of raised planting areas would be necessary to give definition and protection to the north western edge of the square, where traffic issues are most intrusive; but otherwise, the space was to be unbroken by steps. Planting would be introduced in the churchyard of the cathedral as had been the case in the 19th century. This would be of a controlled and architectural nature. Planting proposals are for beds of clipped box (Buxus semperivens), edged with pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis). A line of pleached hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) is proposed for the western planting bed. A large area of grass is proposed within the planter containing the statue of Queen Victoria: both as a simple visual device and as useable space for relaxing.

The Starburst:
The major visual concept is the introduction of a light burst pattern (of granite) in the central space, aligned with the northern door to the Cathedral. The idea has derived from the lantern of the cathedral (St Nicholas being the patron saint of sailors) and may become a centre point for Easter vigils and other cathedral events.

The Construction: Newcastle City Council
Newcastle City Council are carrying out the works and these will be completed by Easter 2011.

Sunniside Public Realm

The Sunniside Partnerships chose to continue working with RLD on the street improvements around the new Sunniside Gardens as an extension of the high quality design found at the gardens. This would integrate art from three different artists including Kapok light columns, Charlie Davidson seating and Bill Fontana sound art.

We have worked closely with The Sunniside Partnership to go through an artist selection stage, design initial street layouts and work with city engineers and artists on fine details, technical drawings and tender documents.

Pennine Lancashire Nelson

Robinson Landscape Design, in collaboration with Kapok, Berlin and Reid Jubb Brown Architects, Newcastle have won the Pennine Lancashire Squared competition for Nelson. See the News Page for the judges’ reactions.

Our first entry was to submit the following boards for public exhibition.

Our entry, “Tuning Nelson”, has a vision of greening Nelson and realising the potential of existing buildings and spaces, impressed the judging panel in the international design contest.

Proposals include introducing grassed areas, trees, seating and roof gardens in the town centre, lighting and linking existing landmarks, extending canopies and using public art to promote urban renewal.

In Nelson proposals centred on the Place de Creil – the space between the Pendle Rise Shopping Centre and the former Woolworths building, through the town to the new ACE building. We aim to boost use of the town centre and its public spaces stressing an ambition to develop a bold pride in what Nelson is, what Nelson has and what Nelson can do with minimal alterations to elicit maximum effects by revitalising under-used urban assets.”

There is no intention of imposing “pointless art objects or landscape patterns” on local streets. Nelson’s assets include the town’s location in the Pennines and at the heart of east-west communication links, its many fine buildings and its wonderful views of surrounding landscape. We’re looking to use art, landscape and urban design and architecture in practical steps to improve how the town works – that’s why we called our submission ‘Tuning Nelson.’

University Of Northumbria

Working with the architects RMJM, the practice developed the design for the external works for a new university campus at Coach Lane in Newcastle. This included the masterplanning and design of the main components to the external estate of the university: the location of the playing fields, gardens, main external street, two squares, courtyards and associated spaces. The result is an entirely new campus with a hierarchy of usable external spaces that links, across a local road, to an existing university facility.

The Meadows – Pity Me

The Meadows project required us to design a public open space within a new housing development in conjunction with Miller homes. To create an interesting new space we worked with artist David Edwick to create a ‘cosmic garden’ that integrates two play sculptures; one in a form of a comet and the other pointing towards the centre of the universe. Each is inscribed with poetry.

St Mary’s Hospital – Stannington

RLD was commissioned in 2001 to join the masterplanning team for the development of residential proposals for this former mental hospital.

In keeping with best practice, the site was assessed for its landscape, historic, arboricultural and ecological features, with a view to the masterplanning process being guided by a series of sieve analyses that safeguarded the more significant features. The resultant development proposal was one that sat comfortably within the former hospital grounds, with minimal impact upon the key landscape features of the site.


The practice acted as landscape architect in the development of the landscape masterplan for the housing, golf and business park mixed development at Wynyard Hall, Stockton-on-Tees. This was a long term planning and development exercise in a 19th century estate with a Grade 1 listed building as the Hall.

West Park

The West Park development on the western edge of Darlington is a successful housing project with a sophisticated landscape concept that is integral to the site’s identity and value. A section of land adjacent to the West Park village centre contains a major water pipe that crosses from West to East. The constraints on use, preclude the corridor being developed, but allow the land to be part of the green space pattern of the site providing landfrom changes that are less than plus or minus 300mm.