Housing Work on Old Filton Airfield Begins

Work is soon to begin close to Cribbs Causeway to make way for a huge new housing development at Filton Airfield. The former airfield will become a thriving new neighbourhood on the edge of Bristol city and work is scheduled to begin within the next couple of months.

The planning application for the work was submitted by YTL Developments, a Malaysian building firm, at the end of 2018. The application was made to regenerate Filton Airfield and use it to build a set of 2,675 new homes. South Gloucestershire Council gave the approval to begin building 278 new homes on March 20th.

A Sustainable Project

The company behind the project has already said that the building works will be as sustainable as possible and that it will be ensuring that all excavated materials are reused at the site, rather than being relocated or disposed of.

The project will also be designed to offer a range of homes for different needs, including affordable homes. There will be one-bedroom apartments at the entry level end of the market, and homes of up to four-bedrooms in size for executive buyers. This will be the initial phase of what will eventually become an entirely new neighbourhood in north Bristol, which will be called Brabazon.

It will also have a Bristol postcode, despite being technically located in South Gloucestershire and will sit within a bigger New Neighbourhood development at Cribbs Patchway. The first homes are expected to be released for sale on the market early next year and the first homeowners will move into their new neighbourhood in 2021.

More than just Homes

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios are the architects behind the new home designs and they have ensured that the homes will reflect the site’s interesting heritage. For example, Brabazon home roofs will have designs that echo the outline of an aeroplane tail fin.

Importantly, the new Brabazon site will include more than simply homes, a common area of criticism where new build estates are concerned. Instead, the site will be designed to be a genuine neighbourhood, with green and sustainable community space which will encourage local people to get out and about, to be active and to meet their neighbours.

Key features will include cycle lanes, a number of parks and other green spaces, allotments and even an artificial lake which is designed to allow wild swimming. There will also be a new health centre, three new schools, a large university campus and a substantial 62 acres of space for businesses and employment.

Investing in North Bristol

YTL also has other building plans in the area and will be building Bristol’s new huge 17,000 seat arena at Brabanzon Hangar, located nearby (the previous Arena site near Temple Meads was rejected in 2018). The enabling works for the building will be carried out by Vertase FLI, which is based in Bristol. This will ready the site for the first cluster of new home builds to begin imminently. As part of the preparatory work, around 18,000 metres cubed of soil will be excavated from the site, equivalent to 300 Concorde aircraft in weight, at more than 38,000 tonnes.

Additionally, there will be £100 million of broader improvements made in the surrounding infrastructure in and around Filton, delivered in partnership by South Gloucestershire and Bristol councils. This will include a new rail link between Brabazon station and Temple Meads and a new route for the Metrobus that will travel directly to the new neighbourhood.

Construction director at YTL, Rob Bensen, spoke about the exciting and ambitious project, saying that the construction of the new neighbourhood will transform a favourite historic landmark and breathe new life into the local area.

He added that local contractors were being used to help create what would ultimately become a thriving new neighbourhood, creating new homes, jobs and opportunities for people and businesses in the area, utilising a green and sustainable building model which would provide inspiration and guidance to other similar projects planned across the UK.

Brexit and Infrastructure Development

The British construction industry has been hit hard in the past couple of years as concerns about Brexit have continued and the industry has waited for clarity on the intentions regarding major national infrastructure projects such as HS2 and national homebuilding schemes.

Many orders have been delayed or suspended pending clarity as to what Brexit will mean for trade, European construction workers and investment as a whole. The progression of the new neighbourhood at Filton will be a significant boost for Bristol and shows that the area is very much open for business and keen to meet local needs for quality housing and new business, leisure and educational spaces.

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