Developer chosen to build 'council's biggest ever investment project' on Ashfield border

Vistry Partnerships has been chosen as the developer to build the huge ‘new village’ project at Top Wighay Farm on the Ashfield border.

Friday, 22nd April 2022, 9:35 am
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 1:12 pm

Nottinghamshire Council confirmed the decision at its latest economic development and asset management committee meeting.

The project, on the border of Linby and Hucknall. will see 805 homes – 17 per cent of which will be affordable housing – as well as a new primary school and the council’s new £15.7 million flagship offices.

Council officials say it is one of the biggest deals the authority has ever done with £20m alone to be spent on the construction aspect of the project with another £5m in sale contribution coming from the developers to support community infrastructure.

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The site plan for the huge new Top Wighay Farm development in Hucknall

Coun Keith Girling, committee chairman, said: “It’s an exciting project. I know some people are nervous, but I’ve been involved in projects before where there’s been a big outcry and then we’ve done it and people have enjoyed what’s resulted.

“We’re making sure the people we’re partnering with aren’t just going to chuck boxes up, they’re a good company with the same ethos as us in terms of the environment and getting the infrastructures in place that create areas people want to live in.

Matt Neal, council service director of investment growth, said: “There’s set criteria we follow as part of the evaluation process and we went through a rigorous tender process with a number of people of the panel and Vistry Partnerships proved through a number of areas it was the best partner to go with.

Steve Keating, development project manager, said: “We selected the preferred bidder on a number of elements, not just the financial aspect but also the social aspect, what they are bringing back to the local economy, their design and their pace of progress.

Pictured at the site of the new development are, from left, Coun Keith Girling, Matt Neal and Steve Keating

"They are looking at building the 800 houses over six years with building from Bovis Homes, Linden Homes and Vistry themselves and they’ll be putting different products up which will create a very good village environment.”

Council officers have also confirmed that plans are in place for a new skills academy, to run in partnership with Chameleon School of Construction in Pinxton.

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One of the entrance roads into the site where 805 houses will be built

Land has also been secured for a possible tram stop within the development, should there be sufficient demand for it.

Bus routes through the developments have also be incorporated into the plans, along with cycle lanes as part of the road infrastructure.

However, there are no plans at this stage for any new doctors or dentist surgeries to be built, nor a new secondary school, which will raise the fears of nearby residents already concerned current infrastructure is struggling to cope.

The plans do, however, contain proposals for a community centre which could incorporate a GP surgery.

Coun Girling also explained why the council needed new offices at the site at part of the development, emphasising that several of the council’s older existing buildings were now old and costing increasing amounts to maintain.

He said: "We’re spending a lot on the council building because material costs are fluctuating and we’ve had to build in a lot of contingency, but we’re hoping that ultimately it will cost a lot less than the top figure.

“We are making it more eco-friendly, because that’s what people want to see.

“This building is vital because we’re looking at putting buildings where we need the services. It will be much more convenient for local people.”