Swift Tower – Planning Permission
Rodic Davidson Architects have gained planning consent in June 2021 for a new wildlife tower within north-east Cambridgeshire Fenland.
Our client approached us with a unique brief and aspiration – to create a wildlife tower within their newly established wild-flower meadow capable of attracting and accommodating a variety of wildlife, including bats, bees, songbirds, and primarily swifts. Swift population in the UK has steadily declined over the last 25 years and are now categorised as ‘endangered’ in Britain by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). This is believed to be due to the loss of nesting sites through modern construction techniques.
A number of modern towers have been constructed to tackle this issue, and try to raise the UK swift population, however have had limited success, with nesting pairs of swifts favouring the solidity and shelter of church towers. With this in mind, the proposal is to construct a hexagonal brick tower, with a pitched slate roof, eight meters high. The upper levels of the brick tower would incorporate ‘Swift bricks’ and timber louvers with swift boxes behind to encourage nesting pairs to nest within the relative safety of the brick mass, whilst lower levels would accommodate bee bricks and song bird boxes, and the overhanging eaves would allow for bats to roost and house martin ‘mud-cup- nests.
The response to the tower from the local council was overwhelmingly positive. The local parish council particularly supportive of the scheme, praising the design and access statement prepared for the application, and gratefully acknowledging the contribution the proposal makes to nature conservation.
Construction is anticipated early next year, ready to accommodate the first of the migratory Swifts in summer 2022.