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Taylor Wimpey's Olympic contract win down to 'local savvy'

Taylor Wimpey won the first Olympic neighbourhood renovation contract thanks to a combination of local knowledge and large-scale capacity, according to chief executive Peter Redfern.

The firm was appointed with L&Q housing association to build the first of five new neighbourhoods at the Olympic Park at Chobham Manor and will invest £250 million to build 900 homes on the 23-acre site where the basketball arena currently sits.

“We had a big broad team working on it but we’re very local,” Mr Redfern told CN.

“It was led very much by our east London team – they know the local area, the local market… local planners and the kind of development that will work here.”

Three-quarters of the properties will have three or more beds, with most to be houses rather than flats. There will also be three London-style squares in the development.

“I think we’ve been investing time in terms of making sure we understood what was going on, getting to know the people and understanding what the drivers were, for over 18 months, because we always felt that there was potential,” he said.

The unique advantages of working on a development with a ready-made and world-beating infrastructure setup are not lost on the firm.

The housebuilder will re-use infrastructure built for the London Olympics, including the heating and telecoms networks, as well as fibre optic broadband.

Mr Redfern said: “It will have a massive impact on timescales – and obviously our costs.

“The biggest thing and the hardest thing with large-scale developments in this economic climate is the upfront infrastructure investment – this is unique because that infrastructure is already there.”

Taylor Wimpey and L&Q housing association have been appointed to build the first of five new neighbourhoods on the Olympic Park.

In addition to the 2,818 new homes to be built through the transformation of the Olympic Village, a further five new neighbourhoods will be developed over the next 20 years.

The Chobham Manor neighbourhood will include 870 homes – sitting between the Athletes’ Village and the Lee Valley VeloPark – and will comprise more than 75 per cent family housing.

Further plans for neighbourhoods will include schools, nurseries, health centres, playgrounds and 8,000 new homes on top of those already built.

The Chobham Manor site is the first of five new Olympic neighbourhoods to be built. The Taylor Wimpey boss hinted that his firm was tempted by the prospect of more Olympic work.

“We wouldn’t rule out looking at some of the other villages but this is the one that we felt was the best potential, the best fit for us, because of that family housing bias, which is what we do.”

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