6,000 new homes. 12,000 jobs. A famous site next to a lovely (and famous) town.

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Rugby Radio Station

The ‘Mast Site’ at Rugby Radio Station has been at the centre of global communications since they were invented. Wartime phonecalls between Churchill and Roosevelt were routed through it. But technology has moved on – literally – and the site’s ready for a change of use.

We ran a week-long community and expert Design Enquiry to explore the options. The site’s owners BT and Aviva Investors had the firepower to make something great happen. And logistics maestros Prologis wanted to build a rail freight terminal for the carbon-efficient transfer of bulk goods. Meanwhile Rugby Borough Council had allocated this as a place where potentially over 6,000 much-needed new homes could be built.

So how should you design a new town? What kind of community and place do people want? How might it avoid some of the problems of the soul-less, car-dependent housing monocultures found all over suburban Britain? How green and future-proof could it be?

We brought together local people, town councillors, health, education and environmental experts, transport specialists, ecologists, bus and cycling lobbyists with 30 consultants, town planners and land owner representatives for a marathon design-fest. Together we sought to grasp what’s most important in shaping a place.

In an intensive process of conceiving, drawing and testing ideas and scenarios, a good design and sound strategies began to emerge into a ‘town plan’. It’s currently undergoing a rigorous review and testing against environmental, traffic, liveability, cost, value and deliverability criteria, with Beyond Green helping keep it together as a unified, integrated whole.

Good plans need equally good delivery to ensure that opportunities to create inspiring new sustainable places and ways of living are realised. We now act as special advisers to Aviva Investors and BT and are working with Savills, Rugby Borough Council, Warwickshire County Council and the Homes & Communities Agency on a financial, delivery and governance strategy.

Watch this space…