Wichelstowe housing development becomes first in UK to gain green travel plan accreditation

By Anita Jaynes on 29 December, 2023

One of Swindon’s newest housing developments has been given a prestigious accolade for its work to promote sustainable transport.

Wichelstowe LLP, a joint venture between Swindon Borough Council and Barratt David Wilson Homes, is the first residential development in the UK to achieve the ‘very good’ Modeshift STARS travel plan accreditation for its Canalside site.

The accreditation, also known as ‘Modeshift STARS Silver’, is a national Department for Transport-approved scheme which recognises schools, businesses and other organisations that have shown excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable and active travel.

The Wichelstowe travel plan sets out a range of sustainable transport infrastructure and promotional measures to help residents make journeys without the need for a car.

The development has seen off-road cycle and walking paths, green spaces, electric charging points, and cycle parking installed. A car club for residents to hire an electric vehicle by the hour as an alternative to owning a car will also be launched.

To help promote the infrastructure, Swindon Travel Choices provides travel information to residents when they first move in, has created the new Wichelstowe walking magazine, and puts on a variety of events from travel roadshows, bike maintenance classes, to guided walks and rides.

As part of the travel plan, residents can apply for taster tickets to try out the local bus service and get voucher codes for free rail travel. There is also a resident discount at Mitchell Cycles, and a ‘borrow a bike’ scheme to try a pedal or electric bike for six weeks.

Councillor Chris Watts, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment and Transport, said, “As a council we are keen to promote sustainable transport as much as we can as it fits in with our wider mission to Achieve Net Zero across the Borough.

“We want to create a green community at Wichelstowe where we do as much as we can to encourage people to use alternative methods of getting around rather than relying on their cars.

“To be the first residential development in the country to be awarded the Modeshift STARS accreditation is reward for all the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes by colleagues at Wichelstowe LLP and Swindon Travel Choices.”

Emma Leake from Wichelstowe LLP, added, “It is fantastic to see so many Wichelstowe residents walking, running and cycling around the place they live.

“The many different ways people will move around the site has been carefully factored into the design process and it is great to see this coming to fruition and being recognised by Modeshift STARS.”

Pictured above: Wichelstowe LLP’s Emma Leake and Rob Powe with the Modeshift STARS Silver award