Caddington Woods is a 27 ha site in Chaulington, Bedfordshire, originally used by GM Vauxhall to store vehicles produced in Luton. By 2013, as the manufacturing processes evolved, such a sizeable storage facility was no longer needed.
The masterplan for this rural site was developed through an extensive community participation process, led by JTP, which created an initial vision for a sustainable and connected community.
Our client, GM Motors, had been active in the community for over 100 years, and it was important to them to create a legacy with this project. JTP managed a collaborative process between private, public and community sectors to develop innovative proposals for mixed tenure housing sensitively integrated on a green belt site.
Held in April 2013, the Chaddington Woods Charrette consisted of public workshops held over two days giving participants the opportunity to share local knowledge and contribute to the future of the site.
The process was critical for shifting the public perception to seeing the green belt site as the inaccessible and unused industrial space adding no value to the area. JTP was able to demonstrate through the process how the project will meet community needs and aspirations, carefully and thoughtfully minimising the impact on the green belt.
The workshops brought together many local people from a wide range of ages and found a real sense of what was possible and what needed to be solved in order to achieve it. The principles developed at the workshops remained throughout our planning and sale process as the fundamental values and parameters for the development.
Julian Lyon, General Motors UK Head of Real Estate
The hands-on planning sessions resulted in clear design concepts for the proposals; a strong community with a distinct identity, while retaining the integrity of the ‘string of villages’, connecting Caddington Woods to the existing neighbouring infrastructure and upgrading the public footpath network to provide pedestrian and cycle access between the guided bus way, the new settlement and Caddington.
There was enormous benefit in the hothousing of ideas over five days with a range of stakeholders which ultimately garnered support.
Cllr Richard Stay, former Deputy Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council
The work that was done during the Charrette that weekend underpinned future discussions - we never lost sight that that was one of the base points.
Kevin Collins, trustee of CASE (the Community Trust)
The proposals emerged for 325 homes split between two hamlets, in a range of house types reflecting the local architectural styles and layouts, all set in a high quality landscape including 35 acres of woodland and open land for amenity spaces, managed by the newly established Community Trust. Between the hamlets, an open green with a pond and a multi-use community hub provide a social focus for the new residents.
30% of the neighbourhood will be affordable, 46 homes of which will be managed by CASE (the Community Trust), in perpetuity to generate rental income which will be used to fully fund a community bus and other community services.