Groundbreaking ceremony celebrates new 139-home development in West Horsley near Guildford

Children from the Footprints nursery school have joined parish and local councillors, as well as representatives from Thakeham and Abri, to celebrate the start of work on a new development of 139 new sustainable homes in West Horsley.

Southern based community creator Thakeham, who are building the new homes with partner Abri, predicts the new development near Guildford will lead sustainability in the region.

With the high standards in sustainable community creation, over 300 solar panels will be installed across the development. The homes will also be built with a selection of fast electric charging points and high standards of insulation. The new homes will achieve at least 30% reduction in carbon emissions; that’s over and above the policy requirement of 20%. With average carbon emissions per dwelling of only 1.5 tonnes CO2 per year – around half the UK average. Furthermore, five homes will be fully net zero carbon.

The land was purchased in a joint venture with Abri, one of the south’s largest housing providers. Work is now underway on the 139-home community with completion in Spring 2024.

Thakeham and Abri will build a range of two-storey homes, a combination of 83 homes for private sale, including self-build opportunities. There will be 56 much needed affordable homes available for a mix of rent and shared ownership.

The new development, to be known as Manorwood, will include a multi-purpose sports hall primarily, but not exclusively, for junior sports. The building will include a modern design and within the development Thakeham and Abri will also build a new home for the Footprints Montessori nursery school.

For Thakeham, John Bell, Managing Director Thakeham Thames Valley said: “This is an exciting moment in the creation of this new sustainable community here in West Horsley. We are pleased that representatives from the local community were able to share the moment with ourselves, our partners Abri and local dignitaries. We were especially grateful that so many school children from the Footprints were able to join us. The homes here will represent a better and more affordable future for many local families. This is their future, and it is important that local families feel part of the improvements the new affordable homes represent.”

The development will focus on sustainability, community creation and affordability. The predicted reduction in annual carbon emissions from this development is more than 20,000 kg CO2 of what was required. That is effectively the equivalent emissions from nearly 10 homes every year. The properties will achieve this with enhanced insulation and by doubling the air tightness.

The plans feature a new natural green space for the homes to the north of the site. Other highlights include a junior sports hall and two padel tennis courts. The development will also enjoy improvement to the biodiversity thanks to ponds, a wet meadow, and species-rich grassland. There will be hedgehog highways plus bat and bird boxes; both provided on trees and integrated into the walls of new buildings.

Thakeham Group and Abri have already worked together, most notably in a joint venture at The Woodgate development in Pease Pottage. The 45-hectare site includes 619 new homes, primary school, community-owned shop and a coffee shop, a community facility, parks and the new St Catherine’s Hospice.

Fergus Cruikshank, Head of Land and Planning at Abri said: “Thank you to everyone that has come to mark this occasion. It’s great to see work starting on the sports hall at an early stage of the development as it will help support the community and enable it to grow.

“This joint venture with Thakeham is testament to our shared values on sustainability with homes that will exceed policy requirements for energy efficiency. On our part Abri is committed to building 12,500 new homes by 2030 and working together here with Thakeham we hope the new facilities and homes will be an excellent example of creating a more sustainable future.”

Sandra Stedeford, Footprints Montessori Nursery School Principal, said: “The children loved being part of the celebration. At Footprints Montessori Nursery we believe every child must be given time to explore and learn about the world around them at their own pace. Our role in the ceremony prompted many questions and fuelled their interest in the way their local community is being improved both through building and protecting the natural environment.”

The West Horsley development is being managed by Thakeham’s Thames Valley region. The new regional office was opened in May last year. Located in Wokingham, it is the base for staff working exclusively on community creation projects in and around the Thames Valley.