Blog: Project of the Year under £10m SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - The Meadows

03 May 2019

sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

The Meadows, Essex  - submitted by Calfordseaden

The Meadows scheme transformed a derelict brownfield site into nine modern, new homes for the executive or large family housing market, with emphasis placed on creating highly sustainable dwellings. 

Before work commenced, the project site had fallen into a state of disrepair and disuse. The derelict school site was plagued by the continued problems of unsightliness, dangerous structures, graffiti, vandalism, anti-social behaviour and fires. The site proved dangerous for local children as the site was not properly secured and was found to contain asbestos. The new residential development has rectified these issues. A number of local residents lent their support to the scheme in the form of positive comments which were lodged in response to the planning application, and positive feedback given during and after construction of the units.

Modern Methods of Construction and a fabric first approach were employed which allowed for cutting-edge design and maximised the sustainability credentials of the homes.  The individual character of each unit was reflected in their design. Key features include a blend of pitched and disconnected roofs, timber frame SIPS system, rendered panelling and the use of coloured weatherboard, which is a modern twist on the Essex vernacular where clapboard is a recurring feature of older, rural properties.

The project demonstrated how development can unite and engage communities. Collaboration with local residents was key to the success of the scheme and the contractor ensured that all community concerns were addressed, and contributed additional charitable services to the community. High scores achieved in the Considerate Constructors Scheme site reports reflect the approach to community engagement for the project as a whole. The developer is also building upon successful design and construction practices utilised by using the development for a pilot project which will inform the energy efficiency of future schemes.

The former workshop site was purchased from the Four Acre Trust which also owns a significant amount of land surrounding the workshop site. It has always been the developer’s intention to use the successful delivery of this project to demonstrate their ability to deliver a larger scheme and thereby act as a catalyst for future development of the surrounding land. Additionally, one of the key drivers for the project was to unlock funding for local infrastructure improvements, including the local road network.

In summary, this development has contributed towards the regeneration of a brownfield site, appropriately dealt with the contamination posed by asbestos, enhanced the natural environment, introduced a sustainable development and delivered a number of high-quality homes with minimal disruption to the community.


  • Successful regeneration of a derelict brownfield site, transforming a site plagued by problems of vandalism and asbestos contamination into well-designed housing, utilising modern methods of design and construction and a highly sustainable, fabric-first approach.
  • Demonstrated how development can unite and engage communities. The contractor’s continued investment in addressing residents’ concerns, making charitable contributions to the community and fulfilling all requirements of considerate construction exemplify best practice in community engagement.  
  • This scheme is currently serving as a pilot project which will monitor energy usage and performance in two of the newly built homes. Data collected will be analysed to create a feedback loop that will inform the design and construction of future developments to maximise their energy efficiency.  

For more details:

Visit calfordseaden.

The SECBE 2019 Building Project of the Year under £10m Award is sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.

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