Construction of housing scheme on historic former radio station site starts

The ongoing transformation of the former Rugby Radio Station site continues to progress with the delivery of 158 affordable homes now underway.

The development, named Midland Heart at Houlton, forms part of the urban extension being brought forward by Urban&Civic in partnership with Aviva Investors.

Countryside, the mixed-tenure developer, and Midland Heart Housing Association are set to introduce new social housing to the Houlton community.

Homes England has provided the grant funding to build the homes as well as funding for the infrastructure.

The collaboration forms part of a framework agreement between the two organisations to build 1,000 affordable homes across the Midlands over three years.

The historic site was once the hub of the UK’s telecommunications network, boasting the world’s largest radio transmission station. In 1927, Rugby Radio Station made the first ever transatlantic telephone call to America – to a town called Houlton in Maine.

Once home to 12 towering radio masts which dominated Rugby’s skyline for over 80 years, the site was demolished in 2007 before work began in 2016 to create a new community called Houlton, comprising over 6,000 homes, schools, open space, sports pitches, a district centre, new link road and businesses over a 1,200-acre development site.

Work to develop Houlton has been underway since 2016 with nearly 400 new homes now occupied along with a raft of early infrastructure including a primary school, a secondary school under construction, a café, community centre, play area and significant formal and informal green spaces.

Gary Belcher, managing director, partnerships South Midlands, Countryside, said: “This latest scheme in Houlton represents an important milestone for Countryside. It’s an achievement that reflects the significant growth we have experienced since arriving in the Midlands in 2018 and we’re looking forward to starting on site to contribute to the ongoing regeneration of this historic site in Rugby.

“We’d like to thank our colleagues at Midland Heart for sharing our ambition to provide high quality living environments for their tenants. It’s more important than ever that we celebrate the positive impact these properties will have on local communities and the difference that new homes will make to the lives of many families. We are very proud of the work that we have achieved in partnership and look forward to continuing Midland Heart’s aim to deliver much-needed affordable housing for those who need it most.”

Chris Miller, director of development at Midland Heart, said: “In current times, people feeling they are part of a community has never been more important, so we’re extremely pleased to be able to deliver even more high quality and affordable homes in the Houlton area. These homes will be great news for local people looking for a new home at a cost they can afford.”

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