Creating a new hamlet in Bedfordshire
Caddington Woods is a 27 hectare, Green Belt site north of the village of Caddington in Bedfordshire, originally used by GM Vauxhall to store vehicles produced in nearby Luton. By 2013, as their manufacturing process evolved, the sizeable storage facility was no longer required. The masterplan for this rural site was developed through an extensive community participation process, led by JTP, which created a vision for a sustainable and connected community.
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 the private, public and community sectors to develop innovative proposals for mixed tenure housing which sensitively integrated with its landscape context.
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
Held in April 2013, the Caddington Woods Charrette included public workshops held over two days, giving participants the opportunity to visit the secure site, share local knowledge and co-design the future of this large brownfield site. The process was critical for shifting the public perception of the Green Belt site as an inaccessible, unused industrial space with little potential to add value to the area. JTP was able to demonstrate through the co-design process how the project could meet community needs and aspirations, carefully and thoughtfully minimising the impact on the Green Belt.
Caddington Woods is largely built and occupied with completion expected in 2021.
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 co-design Charrette resulted in clear design concepts for the proposals; a strong community with a distinct identity, retaining the integrity of the ‘string of villages’ concept, 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.
– The proposal was created for 325 homes split between two hamlets, in a range of house types, all set in a high quality landscape including 35 acres of woodland and open land for amenity spaces, managed by the newly established Caddington and Slip-End (CaSE) Community Trust.
– 30% of the neighbourhood is affordable, of which 46 homes are owned by CaSE Community Trust in perpetuity to generate rental income to fully fund landscape management, maintenance and replacement of multi-use games and play area, and fund a bespoke bus service.
– Between the hamlets, a new village green with a pond and a multi-use, resident run, community hub with two full size halls provides a social focus for the new residents.