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PROFILE | LDA Design on four years of success

There is a growing appetite across the North of England for an approach that creates places where people belong and puts people, climate solutions and nature first.

That is where LDA Design fits in. The multidisciplinary design and planning consultancy has grown its team in Manchester to 17 in just four years. Led by director Mark Graham, LDA Design’s Manchester studio offers a full range of services, including urban design, masterplanning, landscape architecture, EIA, landscape planning, and planning.

Recently, the team moved into Ducie House in Manchester in the city’s Northern Quarter, recognition of the team’s need for more space as it takes on some of the most significant regeneration and public realm schemes in the region.

Baltic Triangle

LDA drew up the masterplan and strategic planning document for Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle

A strong start

The Manchester team’s first project, a spatial regeneration framework to guide development in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, was awarded the RTPI Regional Planning Award for Excellence in Plan Making Practice.

This work has been a springboard enabling the company to provide landscape-led solutions for a great mix of projects across the North West, including a new urban business district in Ashton-under-Lyne, a public realm strategy for Liverpool, and a new urban centre in Salford.

St Petersfield

St Petersfield is to be a £100m business district with the potential for 170,000 sq ft of workspace

LDA has also been working with Trafford Council to develop a design guide for the borough, which is now framing the company’s development strategy for Trafford Wharfside, a project with architects Hawkins\Brown.

Beyond the North West

In Newcastle, LDA Design associate John Simpson is leading a team of designers to rethink the city centre’s public realm by reducing traffic and making it greener, safer for cyclists, more inclusive and more pleasant for pedestrians with wider pavements and less clutter.

The scheme, which includes one the UK’s foremost city streets, Grey Street, will help Newcastle to achieve net zero ambitions and to remain an attractive draw for visitors.

For a new flagship student centre for the University of York, the team joined with ADP Architecture and O’Donnell + Tuomey to win an international design competition.

ADP York Student Services VP

LDA’s distinctive beehive-like centre will be at the heart of campus life for York’s students

Wrapping around the striking beehive-like complex, a reimagined landscape formed an important part of the submission. Designed to make moving around the campus pleasurable, intuitive, and interesting, it also let nature in. Winning created quite a buzz.

A busy year ahead

Working at different scales to support local communities is a priority to the team. In Crewe, the studio is working with local charity Always Ahead and architects Bailey Garner to save Art Deco Flag Lane Baths.

Plans for the restoration include a new setting that works well all-year round, and from day through to evening with wildflower planting, good lighting, flexible play areas, an outdoor gym and multi-purpose kiosk. Other projects see the team criss-crossing from Shrewsbury to Durham, Middleton to Goole, Blackpool to Bowness – regenerating existing communities and shaping new ones.

Recent new starters to this tightly knit group include Hannah Harkis, who joined as a masterplanning lead from Tetra Tech Europe (formerly WYG); Sarah Brooks from Studio Egret West as senior consultant; and Joren Heise from Urbed. The team continues to grow and is currently seeking experienced landscape architects, urban designers and technicians.

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