Crookham Park - A new lease of life

Crookham Park is taking shape on what was formerly the site of Boyce Barracks, a large military complex built in 1938 to act as the Depot for the Royal Army Medical Corps. The barracks was later renamed Queen Elizabeth Barracks in honour of the late Queen Mother who visited the camp during the Golden Jubilee year of the Corps in 1948.

From 1965 until 1970 the camp was used by training regiments of the Royal Corps of Transport and from 1970 until 2000 it was used by Gurkha regiments, notably as the headquarters for the 1st Battalion of the Gurkha Rifles. The Battalion vacated the barracks in August 2000 and the site was sold for housing by the MOD. The former headquarters administration building has been moved and is preserved at the Aldershot Military Museum.Taylor Wimpey bought the land in 2002 and construction of new homes is underway, with phase one now completed.

Today, the former military site is split between two developments: Crookham Park and High Trees. It has been transformed into a mix of housing and apartments - some in private ownership and some part-owned by affordable housing provider Sentinel Housing.

To date, 60 shared-ownership flats have been sold and all are occupied, with more to come as phase 2 of the 872-home development is completed. To-date, flats on the development have proved popular with prospective buyers, not only because they are affordable but also because of their location. Crookham Park is close to junction four of the M3, offering easy access to Reading and Basingstoke, as well as boasting a fast rail link from Fleet to London Waterloo.

A good mix of new residents, which includes professional and semi-retired couples and families, is also being attracted by local amenities including the close proximity of Church Crookham, a pretty village which dates back to the Domesday Book and the town of Fleet which has good local shops and restaurants. A range of new facilities including a school, community centre and sports areas is planned for Crookham Park, which is by large tracts of maintained forest with walkways and conservation areas to encourage wildlife.

One and two-bedroom flats have been built at Crookham Park starting at £160,000 plus an annual service charge and an additional charge for heat and power which is generated on-site. However, residents can expect to keep energy bills low as a result of the fact that their homes have been built to achieve a level 3 rating under the government standard set by the Code for Sustainable Homes. This means that they should achieve measurable energy savings when compared to an equivalent property built to the standards set by the pre-April 2013 Building Regulations. Te flats also have car parking spaces and bicycle storage and residents have easy access to public open spaces, footpaths, shops and play areas.

The flats at Crookham Park are managed by Hertfordshire-based property management specialists Balinor Group Holdings, which has considerable experience of working with housing associations, although chief executive Debbie Perry confirms this is its largest commission to-date. A management company has been established for Crookham Park and Balinor’s Adrian Cooke is currently responsible for liaising with residents as well as ensuring the quality of service providers and monitoring maintenance contracts. The company is now in the process of recruiting a new estate manager who will be based on-site and who will be the first point of contact for both flat owners and maintenance contractors and other suppliers.

A Crookham Park forum has been established to keep residents updated on issues that affect their homes and the general management of the development and there are regular meetings with both Balinor Group Holdings and Taylor Wimpey to ensure that communication is both open and effective.

The final homes on the 50 hectare site are due for completion in March 2015, giving a whole new lease of life to a piece of land with an honourable military history.