NEWS

Meet the Tenant: FPCR

Last year, we started shining spotlights on our tenants at York Biotech Campus (YBC).

Next to take the stage is FPCR, a leading design and environmental practice. Since it was established back in 1957, it’s expanded its services to offer everything from environmental assessment, landscape and urban design, ecology, arboriculture and architecture services.

Its purpose is to create great places for people through design and management of the environment, which means staff are often involved in relocating wildlife or creating habitat banks, to compensate for unavoidable loss through development.

Over the years, FPCR has worked with clients ranging from retail giants like IKEA, to universities, housing developers, Natural England, Historic England, Network Rail and the National Trust, and has won numerous national and regional awards for its architectural design.

With offices already in Derby, Dorking and Exeter, FPCR joined us when it was looking to establish a northern base in January 2017. At YBC, it’s since grown from three members of staff to a team of 12 by the end of February 2022. We caught up with Georgina Palmer, Principal Ecologist at FPCR, to find out more about the team and why they chose us as their Yorkshire home.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the FPCR team here at YBC?

“Our team at YBC have multiple skills and areas of expertise, we’re all ecologists but we have specialists in ornithology and botany. From the campus we work on projects across the north of England and right up into Scotland.

“One of our biggest projects at the moment is our work with Unity, a regeneration and infrastructure development in Doncaster which includes the creation of 3,000 homes, a new town centre, offline marina, school and transport hub. We’re supporting Unity with planning applications, providing advice relating to wildlife, landscape and trees in and around the development.”

Why did you move to the campus?

“We chose YBC as our Yorkshire hub as its location is ideal for us in being able to serve our clients across the north of England effectively.

“Another draw was that the campus is home to other businesses within similar sectors. This means we not only benefit from being around a like-minded community, but we can also borrow some of their facilities, such as labs.”

What’s your favourite thing about being based at YBC?

“As ecologists, we love the wildlife across the campus. We have our binoculars at the ready, and our ornithologists are always on the lookout for interesting sightings of birds. Our office space overlooks the lake, and we’ve seen some amazing views of osprey and kingfishers fishing. The facilities like the gym and Lakeside Conference Centre are also a bonus!”

What’s FPCR’s biggest achievement to date?

“Firstly, we’re proud to have become one of the largest and most respected multidisciplinary consultancies in the sector, which we’ve achieved through continued growth and the constant development and evolution of the services we offer and the way that we work.

“A standout achievement for us is our ecology team’s involvement in developing metrics for Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). BNG is a planning policy that involves assessing the environmental surroundings of a project and making sure that it is left in a better state once all work is completed. As part of this, we sit on the England Metric Sounding Board alongside other individuals from local planning authorities, not-for-profit organisations and ecological consultancies. We test the metric on ‘live’ projects, before providing feedback to Natural England.”

Are you working on any interesting projects at the moment?

“We’ve been busy developing a bespoke geographical software app called Ecotope. It means we can collect and report ecological survey data with exceptional accuracy. It’s custom built for ecological consultants, so we hope it will be useful for others in the industry. We’ve even just launched the app commercially too – it’s available for both iOS and Android users in the app store.”

Finally, what’s next for FPCR?

“We have plans to grow the number of disciplines we can offer at YBC and so will be hiring landscape architects and arboriculturists over the next couple of years. The future is looking bright for FPCR at York!”

For more information about FPCR, please visit their website.