A view from a commercial Master Developer

19 May 2022

A major planning influence.

Urban & Civic are not active in the Guildford area. Elsewhere they are a major force as a leading Master Developer of large-scale strategic sites e.g. the Alconbury Airfield Site. 

Interestingly in January 2021 Urban&Civic was acquired by the Welcome Trust as part of its investment portfolio.

The firm concentrates on being the master developer for the delivery of strategic sites in an area within 100 miles of London.  They currently manage circa a dozen large schemes covering 16,000acres of land.  As a comparison the Wisley Airfield site is approximately 250acres.

The firm concentrates on master planning and the delivery of land which has a sustainable green and grey infrastructure framework, clear delivery plans for community facilities e.g. schools, and overall placemaking.  The aim is to allow housebuilders to deliver a better product faster.

Emerging Trends

The Guardian has recently published an interview with the Chief Executive Nigel Hugill which contained a number of interesting points including:

  • So called “infill developments” won’t meet housing targets. He considers that large new settlements or urban extensions are required.
  • Working From Home is mainly a choice available to the middle-class and it needs to be planned for.
  • There are issues such as London Weighting that are likely to cause labour issues as they are unwound over time.
  • Although it has issues at present, he remains optimistic that London will recover its vibrancy post covid.

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