BlogTuesday 26th April 2016
BUILDING SHERFORD FROM THE GROUND UP
A recent Government survey revealed that a third of British people have a ‘very strong’ sense of belonging to their neighbourhood. So what does it take to build new neighbourhoods – or an entire town – from scratch? In short, it takes a huge amount of effort and it doesn’t happen overnight – nor should it.
Building a new town is no mean feat, taking years of craftsmanship on top of years of careful preparation. A successful community has to unite the people living there and provide shared connections, so every meticulous step of the planning, design and build process has to enable this.
Sherford, on the edge of Plymouth and the South Hams countryside, is one of the biggest new community developments in the UK and certainly the largest in the South West. Many of you will be well aware that it has been in planning for over 20 years. As the developers in charge of the creation of Sherford, we don’t take our responsibility lightly in bringing these grand plans to life.
Sherford draws inspiration from other successful communities, such as Poundbury in Dorset, combining traditional living and modern design. Everything from architecture, design, town layout and facilities have been debated, planned and refined, long before the first digger arrived. A huge amount of manpower and time has already been invested and with many more years ahead, these detailed processes will continue as we and the Local Authorities work to get every detail right.
Sherford sits across three Local Authority areas; Plymouth, Devon and the South Hams, meaning that every decision needs to go through the processes of three different councils to ensure that it not only meets the needs of their residents, but also addresses issues in each local area, such as affordable housing, education and employment opportunities.
We understand that, now work is ramping up on the Sherford site and in the local area, there is naturally curiosity about how construction is progressing. There may also be some confusion about the miles of bare soil with a distinct lack of houses on top! But before any bricks can be laid, there is much to be done to construct the vast infrastructure to support the town, which spans 1,200 acres.
There needs to be drainage to support 12,000 people, cabling laid to ensure electricity and power for every future home, community facility and business, as well as constructing the foundations for the buildings, be these homes, schools or shops. For those familiar with the local area, we are essentially doing all of the essential groundwork to support a town not dissimilar to the size of Ivybridge!
This phase is perhaps one of the most important and timely elements. It’s long and laborious, dependant on planning consent, often hampered by the weather, and crucial to do properly. Hundreds of workers are onsite now, making this all happen as quickly and efficiently as possible, whilst trying to limit its impact to the surrounding neighbourhoods and local area. We know there will be some of you, living nearby or driving past the site, who are affected by the work. Although it is an inevitability with a development of this vast scale, please be assured we are doing what we can to minimise the inconvenience and keep you informed.
We can also assure you that while there may not be bricks and mortar on site quite yet (although this will happen very soon), there is much greenery to be seen! More than £1m worth of planting and environmental improvements have already taken place. The work forms part of the largest habitat creation scheme in the South West, and has seen 200,000 trees planted on site by local contractors. This is the first stage in creating a 500-acre community parkland, which will be accompanied by allotments, urban parks and communal gardens. The woodland and parkland is our foundation, taking shape well ahead of building work.
We will be just as excited as you to see the first homes completed and the first show homes will hopefully be finished later this year. As soon as the initial infrastructure works are completed, we will share news and updates regarding new homes (including when you can come and take a look!), business and retail opportunities, as well as the extensive community facilities that will be available.
The most important part of Sherford will be the people, they have and remain at the heart of Sherford’s design and construction. Everything has been planned with the residents and surrounding communities in mind – and we truly think this will be an incredible and unique place to live and visit. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported Sherford so far.
This is just some insight as to what is currently taking place at Sherford, hopefully giving you a better idea of the magnitude of the site as well as the work going on behind the scenes. To give you an idea of its true scale, watch recent drone footage taken from above Sherford here. This is the first aerial video and we plan to post more in the coming months to give you a birds-eye-view of how Sherford is taking shape. Be sure to keep up to date with our latest news by signing up to our bi-monthly newsletter here.
Wayne Bennett, Bovis Homes, on behalf of The Sherford Consortium.
Representing the Sherford Consortium – the award-winning developers responsible for the new South Hams community, comprised of Bovis Homes, Linden Homes and Taylor Wimpey.