Council’s affordable housing scheme scoops top national award

By Nick Batten on 23 January, 2024

Swindon’s biggest affordable housing scheme has gained national recognition after winning the top gong in the LABC (Local Authority Building Control) Grand Finals.

Swindon Borough Council’s £34m scheme to build 149 homes on Queens Drive saw off strong competition from developments across the country to be named ‘Best Large Social Housing Development’ after picking up the regional title last year.

The housing scheme was one of six winners from Swindon nominated by the Council’s Building Control team, who themselves were nominated for team of the year.

This year’s awards ceremony took place on Friday 19th January 2024 at Grosvenor House in London. The regional awards took place towards the end of last year and the winners then progressed through to the grand finals.

The awards, which are highly regarded by the building industry, recognise outstanding projects and people, while also highlighting innovative solutions, effective working relationships and professional standards displayed by all parties involved in any particular building projects.

The other five Swindon winners who made it through to the Grand Finals as the best in the region, included R & R Design and Build who won Best Residential and Small Commercial Builder; Darren Cawkwell of Hills Homes Developments Ltd, who was named Construction Specialist of the Year; and Michael Kord of Hills Home Ltd who won the award for Best Residential Site Manager.

Zurich’s new Grade A office block next to Fleming Way, Unity Place, which is owned by the Council, was also shortlisted for the title of Best Non-residential New Build while Kenneth and Edwards Ltd also made it through having won the regional award for Best Partnership with a Local Authority Building Control Team for its work with the Council.

The Queens Drive regeneration project – which is being developed by Willmott Dixon – is almost complete and will see a total of 100 apartments and 49 houses built on the site of the former George Gay Gardens residential block and adjacent blocks of flats.

The homes have been built with solar panels and have triple glazing, while dozens of bird boxes have been installed and more trees planted to promote local wildlife.

As well as increasing the number of affordable homes in Swindon, the development will act as a gateway to the town, providing a more welcoming drive into the town centre.

Councillor Janine Howarth, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said, “We are really proud of the Queens Drive scheme as it is delivering affordable homes for our residents and has transformed the local area, ensuring it is really in keeping with our mission to build a better Swindon.

“To receive this national recognition from LABC is fantastic news and comes just a few weeks before the final remaining properties are handed over to residents.

“I must also praise the other Swindon grand finalists because they were all regional winners who did amazingly well, especially our own Building Control team here at the Council.”

Pictured above: the Queens Drive development which was named Best Large Social Housing Development in the LABC Grand Finals