Wates Residential has completed the first roof on its historic Daedalus Village site – just five months after work started.
The national developer celebrated the significant milestone with a ‘topping out’ ceremony to lay the last roofing tile on the new property on Wednesday.
Work on the scheme started in November last year after Homes England – the Government’s housing delivery agency – chose Wates Residential to act as its trusted delivery partner.
The site is one of seven national pilots designed to enable the Government to fast-track the building of homes on publicly owned land and diversify housing delivery.
The project will dramatically increase the number of new homes available in Gosport, with 120 private homes and 80 affordable homes, with the affordable homes managed by Radian, being built at double the pace of the industry standard.
Members of the local community and Wates Residential staff toasted the achievement at a BBQ.
Guests, including Councillors Graham Burgess and John Beavis, and veterans Mollie and Edward Rees who served on the base, enjoyed the day and took part in a charity raffle in aid of Gosport Voluntary Action. Winners took home prizes including a smartphone, Harrods Hamper, car valet and Next voucher.
The site originally served as a seaplane base in 1917 during the First World War and later became the main training establishment and administrative centre of the Fleet Air Arm. During the Second World War a number of Naval Air Squadrons were posted to the base. Following its decommissioning in 1996, the site fell into disrepair and was subsequently acquired by Homes England.
In recognition of the area’s unique roots, Wates Residential will preserve the historic character of the area and the military base.
The topping out ceremony comes just five months after a time capsule was buried by Wates Residential, Radian, and members of the local community to mark the start of work in November.
The capsule, which will remain underground until 2043, included family photographs from two veterans who met while working at Daedalus and went on to get married, a fidget spinner, examples of current Maths and English books, a Wates Residential team photograph and a blueprint of the site.
In February, primary school pupils in Gosport were also invited to take part in a unique competition to name new roads on the site. The competition was kick-started with an assembly from Bob Wealthy of The Gosport Aviation Society, with around 340 pupils learning about the site’s important history.
The scheme promises to not only deliver crucial housing, but also wider benefits for local people, boosting the area’s economy through the appointment of local suppliers and creation of training and educational opportunities for residents.
Richard Manville, Construction Manager for Wates Residential, said:
“Since November, work has been progressing well on our Daedalus Village site and we are extremely proud that we are already able to lay the last roofing tile on the first home.
The ‘topping out’ ceremony marks a significant step forward for the scheme and it was a pleasure to have been able to share this moment with veterans Mollie and Edward. My thanks go out to our project team and the local community for their ongoing commitment and support to the project, which will see 200 high quality homes built in the next 18 months.”