Dignitaries gathered on the site of a 1.5-mile link road which will connect the new mast site development of Houlton and Rugby town centre to mark work beginning today (Friday, July 28).
Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, borough councillor Heather Timms and county councillor Jeff Clarke gathered with Houlton’s master developer Urban&Civic and lead contractor Galliford Try, to formally break ground on the 18-month long project.
The party was also treated to a tour of the site for 6,200 homes, showing the sheer size of the project and where building has already begun, with one of the new primary schools and several homes nearing completion.
Mr Pawsey said: “It is incredibly positive news that work on the new link road has commenced ahead of schedule.
“I have always argued for the road to be provided early in the development to help ensure that Houlton becomes a vibrant and integral part of Rugby, and that new Houlton residents are easily able to access Rugby town centre and quickly become part of the local community.
“I know that the new link road will also be welcomed by residents in Hillmorton and Clifton as it will relieve some of the present traffic congestion in those villages, whilst also mitigating against any increased traffic from Houlton once new residents move into the area. It really is very good news.”
Connecting to an existing junction at Butlers Leap, the road will cross the canal over a new bridge and then run parallel to the canal, crossing Hillmorton Lane and on to the edge of the Houlton development.
The project includes major structural undertakings, including the building of a new canal bridge.
Cllr Timms, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for growth and investment, said; “As well as economic growth and increased prosperity, the Houlton development which this link road facilitates, will play a vital role in bringing high quality homes for local people, essential for this area to meet key housing targets.
“We look forward to the benefits that the link road will deliver to Rugby and the wider area.”
A key part of the planning permission granted in May, 2014, the link road forges a strong link between the new community and Rugby, ensuring the town benefits from the economic growth brought about through the expansion, a spokesman for Urban&Civic said.
The road’s construction has started seven years ahead of schedule as a result of Urban&Civic securing a government loan.
Urban&Civic development director Richard Coppell said: “This event marks a pivotal point in the project. Our ability to construct the road so early in the development brings many benefits for Houlton and the borough.
“It enables us as master developer to open up a new part of the site to create more homes more quickly and it offers new residents to Houlton a great connection into the town and train station.
“Its delivery comes at a time when we have three housebuilders now on site at Houlton and first residents expected at the end of the year.”
As well as 6,200 homes, the Houlton development will also bring three primary schools and a secondary school, an eight-GP health centre, extensive walkways, cycleways and green spaces as well as commercial space and new business.
The development will take some 15 years to deliver.
Cllr Clarke, Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for transport and environment, welcomed the early delivery of the road.
“Economic growth is the number one priority for Warwickshire County Council and this development at Houlton will play a huge part in delivering homes to support the jobs being created in the county,” he said.
To find out more about the Houlton development, please visit: www.houltonrugby.co.uk