The BSGCA (Berkhamsted Sports Ground Charitable Association) and Thakeham would like to share with you their joint vision for a new development in Berkhamsted
We want to do something quite extraordinary together, providing the homes and affordable homes that the town needs in the right places, as well as creating the sport-led legacy of a healthy, carbon zero lifestyle for future generations.
You might be aware that Dacorum Borough Council has unveiled its draft Local Plan, which seeks to deliver at least 2,200 new homes over 10 separately owned development sites along the southern and western edges of Berkhamsted. This will deliver new homes, but will it deliver the community facilities those new residents need as well as the supporting infrastructure?
Rather than piecing together a series of sites, we believe that our alternative single site solution can deliver not just homes, but support local sport and create a new way of living which reflects a cohesive plan for the future. That’s why Thakeham and the BSGCA have created a vision for the eastern side of Berkhamsted. We’d like to tell you about Bulbourne Cross and how you could support the new homes and sports facilities for the town.
Who are we?
Thakeham is a sustainable, infrastructure-led placemaker, working alongside community partners to create great places to live. Thakeham is one of only 12 organisations selected to become a member of the NHS New Towns network and is committed to advocating the Healthy New Towns principles, prioritising health and wellbeing by directly supporting a number of local sports teams alongside creating a healthy vibrant neighbourhood of the future. We deliver our schemes with a focus on sustainable development, looking ahead of current housing standards.
The BSGCA is at the heart of sports in Berkhamsted, supporting a range of groups such as, Berkhamsted Cricket Club, Berkhamsted Tennis and Squash Club, Berkhamsted Raiders Community Football Club and Berkhamsted Rugby Club. We want sport and healthy living to be at the heart of any new community in Berkhamsted – for the wellbeing of all.
Creating a clear vision
For some years the BSGCA has been looking for a site provide a multi-sport, multi-club centre that would better support the whole community. We believe that together we can create a better place for development in Berkhamsted, one that supports our values, new homes, sport and healthy living.
Investing in our communities
Thakeham takes a different approach to delivering the important infrastructure we need to support communities, such as a new school, road improvements, cycle networks and shops / facilities. Creating these up front helps us to deliver a real community early on, benefitting new and existing residents.
A new village centre will provide a local shop delivered in partnership with the Plunkett Foundation, community café and community co-working facilities which reflect modern living. A village green area with play equipment and games areas will be linked to the wider development through cycle links and footpaths. Community allotments, a primary school, alongside the new sporting facilities for existing Berkhamsted sports clubs, will help to create a new, supported community.
Thakeham has already delivered substantial infrastructure up front on many schemes across the region, from a £4m primary school funded and delivered by Thakeham in a new community in West Sussex, to 41.38% Biodiversity Net Gain at a new development in Surrey – showing a substantial commitment to investing in people and wildlife.
Creating a green environment
Our landscaping will provide at least 10% Biodiversity Net Gain, including new wildlife habitats, varied planting, new green spaces and water features alongside open space and play space. This will include initiatives across the development, such as bird and bat boxes built into homes, hedgehog hotels and routes through gardens alongside retaining trees and enhancing hedgerows as habitats.
A new 12ha (30 acre) Bulbourne Country Park will join sports club facilities, school playing fields and 20ha (50 acres) of green open space and new allotments. The country park, with its community pavilion, will open up 2.6km of public cycle/footpaths across space which currently is largely inaccessible.
Bulbourne Cross is made up of:
- 12ha (30 acre) Country Park
- 9.7ha (24 acres) of sports club facilities
- 20ha (50 acres) of additional green open space and new allotments
- A new primary school and village centre
- Direct access to the A41 for this site and the neighbouring 800 home allocation, reducing traffic in Berkhamsted Town Centre
- 27.8ha (69 acres) residential development and associated infrastructure
- Over 42 hectares (103 acres) will become accessible green space for sport, exercise, wildlife habitat and relaxation
Sport at its heart
Across 24 acres at Bulbourne Cross we want to create a sports facility that can truly support our active community. The BSGCA wants to deliver sports pitches and associated stadium, changing rooms and a sports centre creating a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to inspire a healthier lifestyle through community and sport combined.
The proposals include:
- A stadium and clubhouse designed to meet Football Association Step 2/3 standards
- A network of new pitches for local football teams in dire need of additional pitches
- A new rugby pitch – helping grow the sport in Berkhamsted
- A new indoor sports space within our sports centre for gymnastics alongside other local sports clubs and groups who would wish to use the facilities
- Sport and accessible exercise will form an important part of the healthy community we’d like to see in Berkhamsted, one that supports activity in all forms, from running and cycling to play and structured sport
Α separated pedestrian and cycle route will provide safe routes throughout the development to the new village centre, sports clubs, primary school, country park and on to Berkhamsted town centre and train station (it’s an 8-minute bike ride from the proposed village centre to the station). These routes will also create a series of 5k and 10k circular running routes around the green spaces and country park.
To help encourage more cycle use, crossings will be prioritised at junctions and a network of green corridors, commons and pocket parks will create long, safe routes. Furthermore, electric cycle charging points will be provided at homes and at key destinations. Thakeham will also provide incentives for cycle ownership, bike maintenance stations and easy cycle storage at each home.
Electric vehicle support is important, with fast electric vehicle and cycle charging points and easily accessible secure storage. The site will create new accesses on to the A4251 London Road (to north) and A41 (to south), avoiding extra traffic needing to go through the centre of town compared to allocated sites in the south and west of Berkhamsted.
Committing to Zero Carbon Homes, here in Berkhamsted
From 2025, all Thakeham homes will be carbon-neutral in production, and carbon-zero in lifetime use. Our plans for Bulbourne Cross mean that Berkhamsted would be at the forefront of this with measures such as airsource or ground-source heat pumps, grey water recycling, solar panels and highly efficient communal heat networks amongst others.
Through efficient use of timber frame, and modern methods of construction, Thakeham can improve quality and efficiency. Thakeham also prioritises use of recycled materials, such as non-recyclable waste plastics, in inventive ways within our developments to replace less sustainable materials.
Thakeham has developed well designed, energy efficient homes across the country and propose around 1,100 new homes here, of which 40% will be affordable homes for local people, managed by a Housing Association for rent or shared ownership scheme – a step on the housing ladder for those struggling to stay in the communities they grew up in. We’ll provide a range of 1-5 bed houses and apartments, including bungalows. Creating a legacy fit for the future, but designed to cater for everyday family living.
The Dacorum Local Plan consultation is taking place and has suggested the allocated development areas for Berkhamsted shown below:
The suggested patchwork of independently owned sites doesn’t provide the long term vision and infrastructure that a larger, cohesive single site can. With a direct link onto the A41, which connects into the adjacent draft allocation for 800 homes, we can feed traffic away from the town centre and onto the main road network – alongside connecting residents to the town’s facilities by cycle or on foot.
The Local Plan is allocating a significant number of new homes on the edge of Berkhamsted. We believe that our proposals are a better alternative than those shown in the draft Local Plan, that creates new homes with a long-term vision, reflects new working practices and celebrates an active lifestyle.
The site is sustainable, logical and viable for the siting of development, and it is the only site that can help the existing sports facilities grow to support the town’s existing and future residents.
How we can deliver for Berkhamsted
By working together, with one landowner, we can create and deliver a cohesive scheme that delivers a healthy new community.
- Thakeham is committed to delivering sustainable, infrastructure-led development and has a track record of doing just that on sites across the region
- The site is within Thakeham’s control and available for development. Thakeham is a regional housebuilder that builds out our own schemes, so we can deliver on our promises
- We can deliver a high-quality sustainable development using zero carbon placemaking principles. As a significant housebuilder we can deliver homes within the first five years of the local plan being adopted
- It is estimated that around 250 homes per annum can be delivered at peak, leading to a construction programme of 5-6 years including infrastructure works, which Thakeham will seek to ensure a robust agreed timetable for delivery of facilities to support the new community up front
Please Note: The Chiltern Society have organised a virtual event on 14 January where there will be opportunity to discuss these plans and those of the draft local plan. More on both here: