In January 2012, the Homes & Communities agency (the single national housing and regeneration agency for England) announced £47 million in funding to support the creation of over 750 new and improved traveller sites. The funding was allocated to 71 projects around the country, which included the development of a new £1.7m 12-pitch site in Severalls Lane East, Colchester. The architect responsible for the comprehensive works at Severalls Lane was Andrew Yelland, from NPS London Ltd. Andrew had already enjoyed a positive experience working with Jacksons on a previous project and he was therefore happy to specify Jacksons’ products for various aspects of the build at the site, which included the development of 12 residential plots; amenity blocks, a site office and a dedicated children’s play area. The over-riding aim for the initiative, which involved the provision of facilities for a large number of families with young children, was to create a safe and protected housing environment.
Given the historic sensitivity surrounding traveller dwellings, an important consideration was to secure the perimeter of the site. A 571m run of timber Post and Rail fencing was chosen to deliver a smart line of demarcation around the entire plot of land which had been earmarked for the new development. A proportion of this fencing was also clad with wire netting to discourage access from any unwanted wildlife.
With the site boundaries clearly established, a further 440 metres of Featherboard fencing was installed to provide a robust timber fence line which delivers a protective ring of security around the Severalls Lane property. Main access onto the site is effectively controlled via the bespoke entrance system which comprises a MaxHite barrier and double leaf Sentry gates.
Verge protection marker posts were incorporated into the design of the development, to encourage a responsible approach towards the maintenance of any grassed areas and to discourage reckless parking or driving. Each verge protection marker post is equipped with two high visibility reflectors which provide additional safety lighting during periods of diminishing daylight. Attractive but inherently strong Diamond Rail fencing featuring a bird’s mouth top and galvanised strap, which further reduces the risk of damage to fencing or grassed areas from cars which might mount the kerb within the site’s main turn around area.
Each of the twelve plots is given its own discreet territory divided by Vertical Hit and Miss ‘good both sides’ fencing which delivers an agreeable view of the fence line for both the residing family and its neighbours. Every dwelling features a secure entrance point courtesy of the Sentry gates on each plot.
To encourage a community feel to the development, each home is also provided with an individual galvanised mailbox mounted onto a timber frame.
A key focal point for the Severalls Lane site is the creation of a central play area for children, which boasts an array of inviting play equipment. To ensure the absolute safety of any children using this facility, the play zone is enclosed using brightly coloured green and blue Timber Playtime fencing and matching gates, all of which are RoSPA approved and compliant with BE EN 1176 for play fences.
Given the scale of the investment made by the council in developing the site and the potential controversy it might attract, two critical factors remained top of mind throughout the build. Firstly, the completed project must blend with the local landscape and offer an aesthetically pleasing solution to the housing needs of the traveller community. Secondly, any money spent must be proven to represent a value for money, long-term investment. On both counts, the decision to work with Jacksons made it easy to meet both criteria. Inspirational design and a high quality build are the cornerstone of Jacksons success and this combined with the company’s unique 25-year guarantees across both timber and steel products (resulting in an unparalleled lowest lifetime cost), ensured that the standard of physical security works completed at Severalls Lane, met with both the council and local community’s approval.