Little Haldens
Little Haldens Square
Little Haldens Square is the centre of gravity and focal point of the new settlement; it draws together a suite of community services and facilities organised around an attractive, cosy, public square, bringing life to the community. The Square also serves as the gateway to Little Haldens Park and the valley which will will become a wonderful new public and ecological resource for the town.

At 70x metres in length and 40x metres across, lined with soft edges, active frontages and commercial, social and cultural activities - especially along its south-eastern edge - the Square provides an attractive holding place. People can stop for coffee before or after dropping their children at nursery or school, collect life’s essentials from the General Store, enjoy a snack or meal in the café or restaurant, enjoy the summer cafe in the pergola in the park, participate in a community festival or other event, visit friends or relatives, rent a desk in a co-working space. In this way, Little Haldens is much more than a housing development. It is a place that is designed to host and grow an active community and support more environmentally sustainable ways of living with people not needing to leave by car or other mode of travel to fulfil daily needs.

Collectively, these moves reinforce the low carbon credentials of the place, minimise local pollution, will improve social interaction and reduce impact on the local highways network. The square will also serve people who want to visit the valley to enjoy the park and its regenerating landscape. It will help give the new development an even stronger identity and sense of place.

To further animate the square and help provide the economic underpinning it needs, a range of different homes are also provided here, from open market and affordable apartments, to co-housing and assisted living.
Orchard Village
Orchard Village sits at the top of the new settlement. It has three sub-divisions: Gomms Wood Close, Gomms Field and Tile Furlong.
As its name suggests, Gomms Wood Close sits behind the ancient woodland of Gomms Wood and at the northern end of Pimms Grove. It connects to Gomms Field and Tile Furlong via the continuation of Ashwells Lane. The layout becomes somewhat more organic here, responding to its orchard woodland setting. There will be larger, one-off houses, running along an uneven eastern edge with pleasing views to the valley floor through small gaps or rides in the newly planted tree belt.  
Hillside Village
The Hillside Village occupies two large hedgerow-bounded fields in the central western slopes of the valley. It takes its form from Ashwells Lane which straightens and then switches back abruptly to enable good residential streets while maintaining a safe gradient. This creates an attractive form and sequence of special places and views. Hillside has two sub-divisions called, respectively, Twelve Acres and Haldens.

The housing here, which runs in linear rows across the contours, animated by one-off homes or ‘specials’ on c20% of the plots, benefits from the attractive south-east aspect, looking down into the square, Little Haldens Park and the valley floor, and nests pleasingly in its landscape context. Plentiful tree planting and green roofs combine with the set-piece slip parks and community gardens to achieve a soft, green aesthetic.

There will be wide choice in homes ranging from compact apartments and duplexes to quite large houses, some of which are split level and/or stepped into terraces in the hillside. It will become an extremely desirable place to live.
Lower Brook
Lower Brook occupies the south-eastern part of the valley and is closely associated with the square, providing direct connectivity and ease of movement. It rests on south-facing terracing in the slopes below the enlarged and revitalised local wildlife site and extensive new tree planting, designed to enable new development to sit in a woodland landscape.
Community Gardens
Accessible and available and managed for the benefit of all by the Community Trust, these ornamental and productive gardens will become social hubs for all ages as well as providing further rich ecological habitat in the valley.
Orchard
Homes in the Orchard village will be nested - surrounded - within and without by fruiting trees; the character will be substantially defined by native or heritage varieties of apple, pear and plum. These trees also help the orchard village to be well integrated into the woodland landscape at the north west of the site.
Primary School
A primary school will be built in Little Haldens Square to serve the new families in the valley. It has a beautiful location at the edge of the square to maximise convenience for access, dropping off and collection. The school will have an artificial sports pitch and benefit from a garden play space overlooking Little Haldens Park.
Hedgerows
The hedgerows on the western slopes of the valley run parallel to the hillside and serve to reinforce the valley form and character. These tall hedgerows are maintained and will be reinforced with new native tree planting to replace the ash that is now beginning to show signs of Ash Dieback disease.
Natural Swimming Pool
The water strategy for Little Haldens necessitates the creation of a series - a necklace - of ponds along the valley floor. Most of these will be ‘dry ponds’ except in extremely wet weather conditions, but a natural swimming pond will be created at the edge of the park for people to enjoy all year round. It will also have a modest sauna facility at its edge.
Chalk Grassland
Existing arable fields will be recovered to Chalk Grassland – a nationally significant vegetation type that occurs in the Chilterns the Gomm Valley. The existing SSSI is designated for its Chalk Grassland value and will become the centrepiece of a much wider grassland network.
Little Haldens Park
A new park for both the new and existing communities to enjoy. This amenity grassland space will contain informal play, growing slopes, a community centre, summer cafe, the green team facilities, a small art and nature interpretation and exhibition space.
New Hedgerows
The hedgerows on the western slopes of the valley run parallel to the hillside and serve to reinforce the valley form and character. These tall hedgerows are maintained and will be reinforced with new native tree planting to replace the ash that is now beginning to show signs of Ash Dieback disease.
Valley Paths
New paths will be introduced in the valley – a central route that follows the valley floor will allow a gentle rising connection from the south of the valley to Tylers Green. Lateral routes across the valley will be of mown paths becoming more formalised over time as desire lines become clear.
Local Wildlife Site
The existing Local Wildlife Site (LWS) will be enlarged and reconfigured, it will be surrounded to the north, east and south with new tree planting that will serve to contain the space and provide a backdrop to the development to the south. The LWS will be placed into a new management regime designed to recover it to chalk grassland (its original designation) – public access to this and the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSI) will be managed to better allow the regeneration of the habitats.
© GOMMVALLEY 2018
GOMM
VALLEY