Case Study — Wilton Park, Beaconsfield
The ongoing Wilton Park project in Beaconsfield is a prime example of our strategy in action. The acquisition of the site demonstrates careful planning, a strategic land purchase and sensitive management of relationships. As a result of the delicate and skilful work of the land buying and planning teams, we are now in possession of this highly desirable 114 acre development site, which has potential for 350 attractive homes.
The site, previously the home of the Ministry of Defence (MOD)School of Languages, has always had great potential for a residentially led mixed use development, but had a number of difficulties, particularly the road access. The existing access is through a bottleneck junction, inconvenient for the local community and unsuitable for a major new housing development. The one appropriate option was to develop a new road from a nearby roundabout, that would eventually form part of a relief road planned by the council. However, the land necessary for this new access was owned by a number of parties. Aware of its critical importance, we negotiated the purchase of this key piece of land, releasing the immense potential of the Wilton Park site. This forward-looking and strategic purchase meant that the council and MOD then supported our bid for acquiring the site. This is a prime example of careful research and consultation with local government, alongside conversations and negotiations with land owners and the community, demonstrating the value of investing in strategic land.
A further reason we were successful in the acquisition of the Wilton Park site was our existing relationship with the MOD. Wilton Park was the fourth site Inland has purchased from the MOD, and this proven track record meant that the MOD were confident in our ability to deliver on promises, and solve the unique challenges that come with such a site. For example, there is an active air cadets training base within the site, which we have made provisions for, enabling it to continue functioning before relocating to a new base elsewhere on the site when development commences. Such attention to detail and care for local causes is another reason the MOD entrusted Inland with this site, as we previously demonstrated by transforming the RAF West Drayton site into the successful Drayton Garden Village development.
As this site has significant potential, we are exercising another aspect of our strong business model by ensuring meticulous planning is undertaken, and scheduling development to begin at the most appropriate time. Public consultations and research are currently under way. During this process we are generating rental income from the site in its present state. As part of the purchase Inland has acquired 76 existing homes, which are currently offered for rent; we are also leasing other parts of the land for filming and storage uses. The site is also being used for community activities, including the air cadets and police dog training. Infrastructure planning and preparation is under way, and we are considering how best to roll out the development of the project, but crucially the site is earning an income during this preparatory stage.
The finished project will be an attractive development, that will respect the surrounding greenbelt. There will be neighbourhood resources including a nursery, community hub, shop, and café, meaning that as well as catering for the needs of the local and neighbouring residents, the development will also provide employment. The acquisition of this site has been a tremendous success, and the future development will provide desirable, quality housing that will transform the area.