Bertha Park - Collaboration in Masterplanning
Bertha Park demonstrates the importance of collaboration and masterplanning, and upfront finance for infrastructure to unlock development land. Bertha Park is a 333 hectare (823 acre) greenfield development project promoted and developed by Springfield Properties Ltd. and supported by Perth & Kinross Council within its Local Development Plan (LDP). The development will be built out in three phases over 30 years and will see delivery of more than 3,000 new homes and employment land encompassing various uses.
Springfield Properties is investing a substantial sum of £1 billion in the development of Bertha Park. To promote and progress the development, Springfield Properties has also formed a Joint Venture Company (JVC) – Bertha Park Ltd. – with the landowner. The landowner in this case is a local family still resident in the area. In addition to the JVC, Springfield Properties and the Council have formed a working group with representatives from both organisations to ensure an effective procedural structure from the outset. While the word 'partnership' can be overused in planning contexts, there is a significant degree of collaborative working in this case. This collaboration has also been recognised by the Scottish Government in the shape of the 2018 Scottish Award for Quality in Planning within the Partnership Category which went to Springfield Properties and the Council. While the amount of private investment is significant, and the degree of collaboration commendable, key informant interviews suggest that the development of Bertha Park was made possible largely through advanced funding for infrastructure provided by the Council. Through the Perth Transport Futures Project (PTFP), the Council is upgrading the road network in and around Perth.
Benefits and lessons learned
The development of Bertha Park is driven in large part by population growth. Perth & Kinross has seen one of the fastest rates of population growth in Scotland over the last two decades, and, at least until recently, was projected to continue growing at a faster rate than Scotland as a whole for at least the next two decades. The number of households is also projected to increase at a faster rate than for Scotland as a whole over the period to 2041. These projections underpin planning assumptions in both the 2012-2032 and 2016-2036 TAYplans, which set housing supply targets and land requirements for local authorities within the TAYplan-wide area, which in turn informs LDPs. Bertha Park was allocated for housing in the Council’s 2014 LDP and is one of three Long-term Strategic Development Areas in the west and north-west of Perth to have been carried forward into the 2019 LDP.
There are clearly already a number of positive placemaking elements to the Bertha Park development. The secondary school not only provides a modern learning environment for pupils but could also help to build a sense of community in a new settlement, and the emerging mixed-use and varied scale of the development should help to promote wider economic and social activities. The delivery of homes for social and affordable rent in parallel to those for sale may also help to create a socially balanced community from the outset, as opposed to other developments where the affordable element is built later in the process. There are extensive areas of green and open space, including existing woodland and the area around Bertha Loch, contained within the redline boundary of the masterplan. The masterplan aims to enhance this by incorporating new woodland and parkland areas and constructing green corridors throughout the development, some of which have been completed already.
Find out more
More detail about the challenges and positive outcomes from this project is included in the full case study, one of five featured in the report Delivering More Homes and Better Places: lessons from policy and practice, which is jointly published by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) and the Scottish Land Commission. There is also a CaCHE case study featured below.