Building a new community at Wichelstowe

The Wichelstowe site was chosen to satisfy the need for regeneration in the Swindon area. It will accommodate the safe, desirable neighbourhoods needed to support the growth of new character, connectivity and community within the region. The objectives of the development are to rebalance local housing stock through the provision of larger, more aspirational housing and to provide new employment opportunities to support population expansion and further investment. The development was also selected for its sound commercial prospects, with easy access for commuters and attainable delivery targets to provide investors with sufficient return over the longer term.

The research conducted prior to the development launch in 2008 concluded that a place-making approach was necessary. This decision has informed the wider design of the site, so that residents not only have a desirable place to live but also high quality schooling, social areas and health infrastructure to support comfortable living. The early works have made an excellent start through the agreement with Waitrose to provide the anchor supermarket. Other commercial and community areas were developed next, including further retail facilities and a school, to provide a core of support infrastructure to increase the area’s appeal and ability to support residents from an early stage.

After location, people choose a home based on what’s in the place as much as what’s on the plot. This overall lifestyle offer is about how the physical space of bricks, mortar, trees and landscaping come together, but also about how people come together to use the space. To ensure that Wichelstowe has the required desirability to make the scheme a success, the developments will be built around a vibrant, communal space. This District Centre is at the heart of the place offer. It's where residents will come together to shop, socialise and carry out the activities of local living, including attending school, visiting the GP or simply taking a stroll. It encapsulates an attractive offer to encourage all these activities, and the offer will grow hand in hand with increasing footfall as the development site grows. From a resident’s point of view, the District Centre is a place to meet people, eat, drink, relax and do the essentials, whether seeing the doctor or going to school or picking up some groceries.

Canalside by Freeman Retirement Living

Freeman Retirement Living identified the land at Wichelstowe that best fitted the needs of its customer base. A short, unchallenging walk from Waitrose and the District Centre, where residents will be able to attend to not only their day to day needs but also their health requirements, the site will provide an attractive prospect to the over-55 resident. Public transport is easily accessible from the Freeman Retirement Living development. The buildings have been designed to provide excellent outlooks over the canal and surrounding landscape. Landscaping around the buildings will mirror this aesthetic, with tailored green areas and clear, wide paths.

Architectural firm PRP have designed the scheme in partnership with Freeman Retirement Living. PRP is a long-established company with over 100 awards to its name. It has consulted on or designed later living developments from St Austell to Old Trafford, and is responsible for the delivery of diverse estate and urban regeneration projects, including the Chobham Manor housing development in London’s Olympic Park. With over 50 years’ experience to draw on, PRP are the UK market leaders in the field of designing accommodation for later living and additional care.

undefinedSite plan of Wichelstowe showing the Canalside development

The Scheme

The scheme comprises 185 apartments within two buildings. 

There are a range of communal and support areas integrated into the design, including:

  • Foyer lounge
  • Activity room/exercise suite
  • Snug/library
  • Staff rest and changing areas
  • Manager’s office
  • Swimming pool with changing facilities
  • Restaurant
  • Bar/private dining room
  • Buggy parking
  • Accessible WCs
  • Guest suite

Each of the residential wings provides small clusters of apartments per floor, with good levels of natural light and ventilation into the corridor spaces. This approach is an effective way of assisting orientation from within the buildings.