Council regeneration scheme cements top place in regional building awards

By Anita Jaynes on 25 September, 2023

A key affordable housing scheme in Swindon has scooped a top gong in the LABC (Local Authority Building Control) West of England Building Excellence awards.

Swindon Borough Council’s £34m scheme to build 149 homes on Queens Drive was named Best Large Social Housing Development and was one of six winners from Swindon nominated by the Council’s Building Control team.

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 included Ben Robinson from 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 Homes 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 named Best Non-residential New Build, while Kenneth and Edwards Ltd were given the top award in the Best Partnership with a Local Authority Building Control Team for its work with Swindon Borough Council.

The Queens Drive regeneration project, which was designed by Quattro Design Architects, is in its final stages after 32 flats and 15 houses were initially built on the site of the former George Gay Gardens residential block. 

The Council’s building contractor Willmott Dixon is well on the way to finishing the remainder of the scheme which will see the creation of a further 68 new apartments and 34 houses.

The buildings at Queens Drive have been carefully designed to reflect Swindon’s railway heritage with the gable ends based on the widths of the former engine sheds in the town’s railway works.

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, “It is fantastic to win any award, but I am particularly proud the Council, together with the building contractor and design team, has been recognised for this regional award as it is a reflection of all the hard work our officers have put in to making this significant affordable housing scheme a reality.

“This development has transformed this part of Queens Drive and the climate-friendly measures, the fact the properties are affordable and the excellent build quality mean they fulfil all three of the Council’s Missions to Build a Better Swindon, Combat Inequality and Achieve Net Zero.

“It is great Swindon’s construction industry was once again so well represented among the winning entries and I wish them all the very best of luck for the grand finals taking place in January.”

Pictured above: The Queens Drive regeneration scheme.