Swindon Borough Council has selected Barratt Developments as the preferred partner to deliver the next phase of the Wichelstowe development in Swindon, creating new homes, neighbourhoods and job opportunities.
They will form a joint venture company which will see them equally share the risks and rewards in building at least 3,000 homes in Middle and West Wichel areas, between Old Town and the M4 motorway. The project will create a high-quality development designed to appeal to all generations, with market-leading levels of green open space.
The proposal to develop the joint venture will go to Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet on 17 June for approval, with contracts due to be signed in the next few months. Income to the council from the joint venture over the 20 year-life of the project is estimated to be tens of millions of pounds.
The joint venture announcement re-boots the Wichelstowe project after it stalled following the financial crisis in 2008.
Barratt Developments builds and sells houses under both the Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes brands, and brings vast house building experience and delivery expertise. The company also has a proven track record for quality and industry-leading design, based around creating communities where people want to live.
Outline planning permission was granted for the entire Wichelstowe development in 2005, and approximately 700 homes have already been built in the East Wichel area of the development. Middle and West Wichel cover 75 per cent of the Wichelstowe site, all of which is owned by the council.
Cllr Brian Mattock, Swindon Borough Council deputy leader and Cabinet member with responsibility for the Wichelstowe project, said: “This deal is absolutely vital for Swindon’s future economic strength and prosperity. It will contribute hugely to our demand for more high-quality housing, and will bring in much-needed income over a long period.
“We have forged a 50/50 partnership with one of the UK’s biggest and most successful housebuilders, and I am certain we will draw on the strengths of both the public and private sectors to create a truly ground-breaking development that sets new standards. We are pleased to be working with a partner who shares our high quality aspirations for Wichelstowe.
”There is a lot still to be done but the work to secure this agreement has been considerable, and has had cross-party input and support.”
Chris Burton, Regional Managing Director, Barratt Developments West Region, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as preferred bidder on one of the most significant public/private housing projects in the country. This is a highly innovative approach and we look forward to working with Swindon Borough Council to conclude this agreement.
“We can then deliver an outstanding place to live for the people of Swindon, and a commercially successful project for the project partners.”
The council will provide its land to the venture, with Barratt providing its expertise to manage the construction of the development and the sales of properties on behalf of the joint venture. It is expected that the site will take more than 20 years to develop completely, but this will depend on market conditions throughout the lifetime of the project.
In 2014 the government agreed a £115 million Local Enterprise Partnership investment in Swindon and Wiltshire, a significant part of which will be spent providing road access from Junction 16 of the M4 motorway. The junction will require major re-engineering to cope with the extra volume of traffic coming from Wichelstowe.