Hampton: Abandoned brick pits now home to thousands

Hampton Vale from above - the area has changed dramatically. Photo: Peterborough Telegraph Archives

Hampton Vale from above - the area has changed dramatically. Photo: Peterborough Telegraph Archives

A look at the development of the Hamptons which is celebrating its 20th anniversary:

It’s difficult to believe that Hampton might not have existed. Castor was the intended destination for Peterborough’s fourth ‘Township’, but the village residents did not want the changes.

So developers looked at elsewhere, and realised that the city’s abandoned brick pits might be an alternative.

Planning permission was gained in 1993, and later developers O and H Properties Ltd purchased the development from Hanson,

Building began on what what will one day (at the earliest 2023) comprise 8,500 houses, five schools, and supply 12,000 jobs.

Hampton is being promoted in a campaign marking its 20th anniversary, known as ‘Happy in Hampton.’

But for every Peterborian who sees the striking and modern homes for the 21st century there are others who regard them as dull, lacking in character and - perhaps more presciently - community spirit. For everyone who admires the green spaces, leisure facilities, 116 hectares of lakes, and an employment rate of about 54 per cent there are those who see a maze of soulless, identikit buildings.

O and H general manager Roger Tallowin is by no means blind to the criticisms.

But he is proud of what he sees as a vibrant, integrated and exciting area, held up as an ‘exemplar of green infrastructure’ by Natural England.

Roger took the Peterborough Telegraph on a tour of Hampton Hargate, Hampton Vale, Hampton Leys, and Hempsted.

We started at O and H Properties. Based just off London Road, at Hempsted Barn, the company has just four staff, down from its previous high of nine.

At one point the Hamptons was growing by 500 homes a year, in 2007. Then the recession hit and it continues to blight development, but there are hopes the previous rate may return.

Mr Tallowin argues that the Hamptons is mid-way through its development, and after some initial teething problems it has gone through its terrible teens, and is now heading towards a higher level of maturity

Fittingly, considering the metaphor, his passion is schools. Funded and built by O and H, and fitted out by the city council, the success of its current two primaries has led to rapid expansion, with a third primary school due to open later this year.

Section 106 planning conditions meant that these were obligatory for a development of this size of course, but O and H believe they have gone above and beyond the minimum.

Mr Tallowin said:“Taking everything into account we have spent £60 million on schools.

“In a way they are almost too popular. Normally there are 25 children per 100 houses in a development - in the Hamptons it is closer to 40.

“One aspect of the college has been a disappointment to us though. We designed it as a community school, with a 200 seater amphitheatre and a fibre-optic ceiling. The idea was that it would be used as a community base for a cinema and amateur dramatics, and additional facilities for parties.

“It just hasn’t happened - people know how I feel about it.”

Despite these reservations the college has achieved well, and was judged ‘outstanding’ by two OFSTED reports. It also holds Silver Eco status and is currently expanding to accommodate up to 1,050 students plus 200 sixth formers by the end of 2013.

A £50,000 sculpture competition, jointly funded by O&H and Peterborough City Council, resulted in David Nash being commissioned to create a striking five piece work, The Noon Vessel, for its courtyard.

Shadows around the piece change during the day’s sunshine. Using the analogy, Hampton itself is currently at midday, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the years leading up to midnight.

Next week: part two - self-builds, the environment, and the future.

Share your memories of Hampton, past and present or views on it’s future on our website below, Email news@peterboroughtoday.co.uk, tweet @peterboroughtel or visit our Your Say page to share your comments

Key dates:

1993: Planning permission granted for approximately 5,200 homes and commercial areas at Hampton

1996: Hampton Nature Reserve is designated an SSSI: site of special scientific interest

July, 1997: Crown Lakes Country Park opens in July, with 85 acres of parkland and lakes for Peterborough’s population to enjoy

December, 1997: Hampton’s first residents move into homes on Holly Walk, Hampton Hargate in time for Christmas

1998: O&H Properties Ltd buy the Hampton development from Hanson

1999: Serpentine Green shopping centre opens

2000: Hampton Hargate Primary School opens

2002: Playing fields open at Hampton Hargate and are transferred to the Hampton Community and Sports Association to manage for local people

2003: 1,000th home occupied

2004: A second primary school opens in Hampton Vale to cater for the township’s growing families

2005: Hampton College opens as a four form entry secondary school

2006: The 100,000th tree is planted, equal to more than 20 trees for every home

2007: A survey at Hampton nature reserve records an estimated 30,000 Great Crested Newts, one of Europe’s largest populations of this protected species

2008: The 3,000th home is occupied on Hampton

2009: Amazon announces it’s bringing its distribution centre - and 1,400 jobs - to Hampton 2010: Hampton gets its own Parish Council

July 2011: More than 5,500 jobs are recorded as being created within Hamptons

2012: Hampton Community Primary School opens

2013: Clayburn Road Community Sports and Library Centre due to open.

*Since the first arrivals to Holly Walk, Hampton Hargate in 1997, more than 4,500 new homes have been built

*To date more than 30 home builders and housing associations have provided everything from one bed apartments to luxury family homes and retirement properties on Hampton.

*Nearly 900 units of affordable rented housing have so far been provided.

*Innovative homes schemes include a zero carbon house built with Morris Homes as a model self-build of the future.

*Two self-build schemes have been included, allowing people to design and build their own dream homes, with three homes already completed.




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