Hundreds of workers are now on site at Priors Hall Park, on the outskirts of Corby, which has become the biggest construction site in the UK.
Earlier this year developer BeLa was awarded £5m by the Homes and Communities Agency to fund infrastructure works to ensure hundreds of new homes would be built.
The developers, Barratt, David Wilson, Francis Jackson, Hunter Homes and Taylor Wimpey, are now on site and the scale of the work is breath-taking.
Heavy plant is moving mountains of earth to make way for new homes and roads .
The surge in construction ends a period in the doldrums caused by the economic downturn.
For the man behind the Priors Hall Park vision, Alfred Buller, the building bonanza is a welcome sight.
The chief executive of developer BeLa said: “The slump was horrific and there were many sleepless nights. People had bought into the dream and I’m delighted that we’re back on track.”
The plan is to build homes at the rate of up to 400 every year for the next 15 years.
So far 200 properties have been completed and are occupied. In the current building phase Barratt is building 95 homes, with Taylor Wimpey planning a further 130 houses and David Wilson 34 houses.
As part of Section 106 agreements, there are plans for a primary school, community facilities, a nursery, shops and leisure facilities on the site of more than 1,000 acres.
Mr Buller said: “The challenge is to create an attractive place for people to live, work and play.
“Millions of pounds have been spent making improvement to Corby which has excellent schools, the new railway station, theatre and the Olympic swimming pool.
“As a town it’s vibrant, cool and edgy.
“Priors Hall isn’t about creating a soulless housing estate. It’s about a lifestyle.”
In April, Jersey-based investor Grey Rock acquired Priors Hall and Rockingham racing circuit.
Mr Buller and Grey Rock’s Stuart Wright, a motorsport enthusiast and former endurance racing driver, formed a partnership that secured pledges from major companies to build on site.
No longer just promises, the workers and equipment are on site, transforming the landscape.
Mr Buller said: “We have done an enormous amount of research. It’s a challenge but it’s exciting.
“We want Priors Hall Park to continue to evolve. People can walk to work. We have RS Components close by, one of the biggest employers in the county.
“There is Corby Business Academy, a fantastic school, and the Enterprise Centre. We are creating a place for every generation, where children can call in and see their grandparents on the way home from school.”
The first homes at Priors Hall were completed in 2010 and it’s already becoming an established community with a residents’ association which held its first big event, a fun day, in the summer.
With its amphitheatre and gardens, a community is beginning to be created.
Good schools, training opportunities, apprenticeships and jobs will be key to the success of Priors Hall.
Investing in Corby and not just the Priors Hall development, Mr Buller has worked closely with Corby Council for a decade and been involved in other major projects such as Corby Business Academy, Adrenaline Alley, the region’s biggest urban sports centre, and Electric Corby which has secured funding to build zero energy bill homes at Priors Hall.
Mr Buller said: “My background has been in developing inner city projects. Corby has been the biggest challenge.
“When I came here in 1999 I fell in love with Corby and I was excited by the scale of the challenge.
“I could see the place had heritage and passion, and it also had its wounds and sores.
“It’s a privilege to be part of it all.”
Families delighted with homes
Priors Hall Park is attracting interest from all over the area and families who have moved in say they made the right decision.
The Govers, Julie, Christopher, Joshua and Samuel, moved to Corby. They liked what they saw from the start.
Mr Glover said: “Priors Hall was not on our radar when we chose to move from Essex to Northamptonshire.
“On the day of our viewings we were asked if we would like to see Priors Hall, we have never looked back. Priors Hall has been the best decision we could have made, happy parents, happy children, equals a happy home.”
Stephen and Gill Holmes were introduced to Priors Hall Park by their local estate agent in Kimbolton. Mr Holmes said: “We are extremely pleased with our choice of property and with the future plans for development of Priors Hall Park.”
Another resident, John Bayliss, said: “As soon as I drove up to Priors Hall I knew I wanted to buy a house there. It’s somewhere special and spacious. ”
Julie Stevens, who moved to Corby from Kent and rents a property, said: “Even after seeing other properties in Northamptonshire, we knew we had found our house in Priors Hall Park. There is so much choice, different styles and each property appears to have its own uniqueness inside. We love the house, the development and the area.”