Wichelstowe – a new canal side community

Wichelstowe is a bold new residential development and urban extension on the southern edge of the town of Swindon. The mixed-use development will comprise in total of up to 4,500 homes, employment space, shopping, community facilities for residents and various schools, all set within approximately 200 acres of green open space.

Our Architects and Landscape team have worked alongside the client team (Barratt Homes, David Wilson Homes, Swindon Borough Council) to secure planning for the first two parcels of housing within the water front, Canalside area which are now under construction. More recently (2020) we have worked with the client to establish a vision and translate this into design codes for two of the next housing areas – the contemporary Wichel Fields and the Landscape led Orchards area. Within this stage of the work, we have used the design codes to prepare and submit detailed planning packages for the first three parcels of housing within these exciting new areas, which will hopefully come to life on site later this year (Spring 2022).

As the project has developed from the initial vision we established with the client, our teams’ approach has evolved and become more and more focused on the experience of the residents and the surrounding community as they travel throughout the network of many key routes that cross the site. Using this as a design catalyst the team have given the different routes key characters which are reflected through the street design, the landscaping and the architecture meaning the final proposals create an extremely navigable and enjoyable environment to explore.

An example of this is the users journey between two of the key areas of green open space which has been carefully considered and has resulted in the creation of ‘Green Streets’ which feature a large swathe of public green space running down the middle of them, continuing the experience associated within the public open space through the development.

Project Details

  • Mixed Use new community
  • New housing made up of various distinctive areas with unique characters
  • Approx. 4,500 Homes
  • Approx. 200 acres of open space
  • New section of historic canal
  • Play areas, allotments and a community orchard

Wichelstowe aims to provide significant social value both for the future residents of the Wichelstowe development and for the wider community beyond. This is demonstrated by the array of community facilities being created alongside the built form of the housing, schools, retail and leisure facilities.

This features 200 acres of open space, including play spaces, pedestrian and cycling routes, community orchards and allotments. This, alongside the reinstatement and extension of the Berks and Wilts canal that crosses the site as well as the designation of some key streets as ‘green corridors’ means the scheme, is well on its way to showcasing many of the ideas now included in the ‘Living with Beauty/Building Better, Building Beautiful commission’, despite this being ahead of the report being released!

Wichelstowe will offer substantial health and well-being benefits for the new community, encouraging residents to connect more with their surrounding green environment as well as with each other.

Our Architecture team has also worked closely with our Graphic Communications team allowing for the early vision for the development to be carried through and applied throughout detailed design documents for the coming phases. This has been a huge benefit for us and the client in making sure that we are trying to achieve in terms of design is also reflected in all the documents we produce.

The Wichel Stray at Canalside, Wichelstowe, is a finalist in the 'Best design for three storeys or fewer' category at the Housebuilder Awards 2021. Winners will be announced on the 24th November.