Wichelstowe grows as vibrant Canalside begins to take shape

Andrew Wells
Initiative Manager | Business West
11th June 2019

Wichelstowe is a bold housing and community development project in South Swindon that continues to grow apace.

The eastern side of Wichelstowe has been inhabited since 2009 and this year Barratt Developments will start work on another 3,000 homes which are due for completion in 2020. 

Wichelstowe is a public-private development project backed by Swindon Borough Council, which puts character buildings, connectivity and community at its core.

Take a walk around East Wichel – the first of the four main areas to be developed – and you will find housing stock designed with utmost care and attention to the local and natural environment. Moreover, plenty of communal and public spaces fit for modern living now and in the future.

East Wichel has a great pub, supermarket and a dental surgery and there’s even a new fish and chip shop on the way! Within walking distance to Swindon’s largest employer Nationwide and Swindon’s Old Town, the development has been popular with young professionals and families and looks set to include a retirement village in years to come.

While the growth of the area has been more modest than predicated – the global financial crisis dampened the locally housing market from 2008-2010 – growth of the community has really begun to gather momentum during the last 18 or so months with the development of the Canalside in Middle Wichel.

After years waiting for the right location in Swindon, Waitrose chose Wichelstowe to open its new superstore in 2014. Serving a wide geography, the superstore has not only become a hit with shoppers, is has also proven to be an attractive anchor tenant that has helped Wichelstowe to develop a real sense of place.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has been instrumental in this, working with Swindon Borough Council and all its partners to protect the Canalside and to persuade developers that the restored canal will form an integral part of green infrastructure, add benefit and value to their development, and have a role in food prevention and water management.

Today, the Canalside is not only a great place to do the weekly shop, with the opening of Hall & WoodHouse Wichelstowe back in March it is also a great place to wine and dine too. As with all facets of the Wichelstowe development the long-awaited pub was carefully designed to encapsulate the location’s 200-year-old canal history and has been a massive hit with locals.

A few weeks ago, they completed the installation of a pedestrian bridge connecting Waitrose to the other side of the canal where Hall & Woodhouse is located. This has helped Canalside to develop into a much more cohesive and well-connected shopping and leisure destination, setting the foundations for future developments further down the line. The vibrant Canalside will also be develop for the residential market, offering something truly unique to the market.

Works to introduce a Quality Bus Corridor between Wichelstowe and Swindon town centre are also underway meaning that connectivity looks set to get better and better.

With a state of the art secondary school currently under construction just a stone’s throw from the Canalside and plans approved for a footpath and public square to provide access between Kingfisher CE Primary school and the Freeman Retirement Living development, Wichelstowe is shaping up to be one of Swindon’s most liveable communities, but also its most diverse too.

For more information on Canalside contact The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Trustee Neil Croucher.

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