We have recently reached practical completion of The Wullcomb on Vaughan Way in Leicester, a modern managed apartment complex comprising 297 apartments with shared spaces and a fifth-floor rooftop terrace with panoramic views over the city. The build-to-rent development is owned by Long Harbour, managed by Way of Life and has been delivered in partnership with local developer, the Sowden Group.
What makes this scheme a little extra special is that is the first project that we has completed in the privately rented sector (PRS). Furthermore, it is Leicester’s first purpose build accommodation of this type and its Stephen Gascoyne’s inaugural scheme as a Winvic project manager. Stephen who joined our team in April 2018 talks about his Winvic experience so far and his project highlights.
“At interview stage I thought I was lined up to work on an industrial sector project. However, with Winvic’s growth into the sector they call ‘multi-room’ – student accommodation, build-to-rent and hotel schemes – they looked at my experience of working on similar projects and I was asked to manage Vaughan Way, now known at The Wullcomb. It was a welcome surprise, and I guess it was fate; my first Winvic project, a first for the company and, of course, for the city too.
“One challenge was managing significant design changes to the ground and fifth floors during construction; our design team worked closely with lead architect Franklin Ellis on the solutions and I achieved smooth sequencing whilst managing the live site process. We also had a well and truly live highway and a busy shopping pedestrian route adjacent to the site; the compact plot is located on Leicester’s busy A50 arterial route and is opposite the Highcross Shopping Centre. This meant road closures on consecutive days were not feasible on the A50 so we had to be creative; for example, traditional mining and backfill methods were employed to tunnel under the live highway in order to connect to the mains sewers.
“The site was also land-locked on three sides, which led to the creation of an unusual donut shaped building and I had to plan a precise programme around accessibility. The adjacent plots, buildings and neighbourhood resulted in a design where cascading heights harmonise with the urban surroundings; plus locally sourced bricks with contrasting dark bricks provide visual interest on the four tower blocks. Particular consideration was given to the impact on the oldest place of worship in the city, All Saints Church, with history going back to 800AD. The stepped buildings – 11, seven and five storeys – sensitively minimise impact on the church and adjacent residential properties.
“The project was delivered on Winvic’s turnkey offering, which includes pre-construction, design phase, enabling works, infrastructure, construction works and fit out.
The Wullcomb contains:
- 297 apartments on the upper floors
- A games and TV-room called The Bower
- Modern lounges with fireplaces
- A kitchen/dining area known as The Perch
- A fifth-floor rooftop terrace, providing comfortable seating, a firepit, a BBQ and wood-fired pizza oven
- Four ground floor commercial units
- Landlord’s areas to the ground floor
- Mezzanine plant and car parking areas
- Electric car charging points
“I can’t write about my experience without praising the whole Winvic team and the committed supply chain; they really are first-class. And what is it like to work for Winvic? Well, everything I heard about it being a refreshing company to work for is true. “One-team working” and “client focused” aren’t just soundbites, Winvic really is a fantastic company to work for and to engage because of its values. I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into managing one of the recently won multi-room projects after we’ve completed the final external works in autumn.”
Stephen Gascoyne, Project Manager