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Bertha Park, Perth - light case study


Bertha Park village will ultimately consist of 3,000 homes, built in phases that establish the core of the village from the outset. The vision of the design team is to create a new sustainable and vibrant community embedded in the Perthshire landscape. A focus on place making, integration with the surroundings and a strong green infrastructure network will support a new community living in a place where they can live, work and play.

The village includes everything a High School (opened in August 2019), and a high street consisting of shops, cafes, restaurants, medical facilities, offices and nurseries. A network of path and cycleways extend through the masterplan and into the surrounding landscape, connecting with woodland and riverside paths, and with the regional cycle network.

Bertha Park occupies an area of former farmland defined by mature woodlands and by topography. Bertha Loch lies on the northern edge of the site, feeding a watercourse that flows through the site; the green/blue infrastructure network connects into this existing habitat corridor and extends the wetland corridor habitats through the heart of the development.

The River Almond lies to the south, beneath a steep wooded slope; this woodland is connected through the development in new woodland belts. The mature, ancient mixed woodland bounding the north and south of the site will be retained and managed under a woodland management plan.

A key factor in masterplanning of this development was the overhead transmission line that bisects the site. This imposes severe constraints on building, and also limits planting of trees; there was a real danger that the pylons would overwhelm and split the heart of the new settlement. However, it presented a wonderful opportunity to create a green infrastructure corridor and high quality parkland in the heart of the village, forming the first impression of Bertha Park as a scheme anchored in the landscape.

The proposed Cross-Tay Link Road also runs along this corridor, ensuring this road has a strong landscape setting. The principles underlying the masterplan for Bertha Park are closely informed by the existing landscape character, topography and vegetation:

  • The landscape masterplan will provide Green Infrastructure – a multi-functional landscape that serves habitat, visual, amenity, drainage, play and path networks; 
  • Bertha Loch provides an attractive and biodiverse heart to the woodland park, with footpath access for all to enjoy the open views and waterside setting; 
  • The woodland backdrop along the northern ridge anchors the new settlement and connects into it through linking woodland belts and avenue trees and an extended path network 
  • The woodland and floodplain areas along the River Almond form a natural habitat corridor, these will be reinforced through riparian planting and enhancement of the wetland habitat. The eastern and western boundaries are strengthened with woodland 
  • An enhanced wetland burn corridor will connect between Bertha Loch and the River Tay, forming an extensive natural park; 
  • A diverse and strongly structured park occupies the heart of the built area, straddling the route of the CTLR and overhead power lines;  
  • Water sensitive urban design is expressed in green streets through which swales flow.  
  • An Edible Landscape will offer places for allotments, community growing, fruiting hedges and orchards dispersed throughout the village so that growing and foraging can be enjoyed by all.

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