The 53-acre site closed down in 1999, taking with it hundreds of local jobs. The Mill, an 800-home urban village with its own neighbourhood centre, community hall and parks, is set to bring over 1,000 new jobs to an area blighted by unemployment. With financial backing from the Welsh Government and Principality, this reclaimed industrial site will create a vibrant new community of high-quality one and two-bedroom apartments and two, three and four-bedroom houses.
The scheme’s layout will include a treelined river walk, cycle paths, open spaces and leafy ‘green streets’ branching off from The Mill’s main tree-lined boulevard. Addressing the need for affordable housing in the area, around half of the homes at this flagship development will be for discounted, open market and social rent, managed by Cadwyn for the Tirion Group. We will offer the remaining 358 homes for open market sale.
Although the site was originally tendered as a land bid, we impressed the partners by our ability to deliver both the affordable and open market elements, allowing them to benefit from the continuity and economies of scale this would provide. We demonstrated that we had the necessary skills and expertise, as well as a willingness to approach the project differently, to allow us to meet their requirements.
As a result the project is a true partnership, with all parties working together to agree the branding for the site as well as the microsite and social media messaging, where the three partners are equally represented. To promote positive working relationships from the start, we held an Expectations Exchange to agree what each partner would provide and ensure we were all moving towards the same goal. This process proved so successful that we are now rolling it out across the region.
We started work on site in January 2017 and the first homes for sale were ready by autumn 2017, with 102 of the homes for rent completed by the following spring. Interest in The Mill has been high from the outset, with many local residents – particularly first-time buyers and families – visiting our stand at the Ely and Caerau Festival in July 2016.
Even before our marketing suite and show apartment opened in July 2017, we had already secured 21 reservations, mostly from first-time buyers, during our eight week pre-launch phase at Hoskins Morgan estate agents.
During the lifetime of the scheme, we will create over 1,000 opportunities for local people through apprenticeships, training placements and graduate programmes. We set up The Mill Employment and Training Group to co-ordinate our delivery of the employment and skills plan, with representatives from The Prince’s Trust, Tirion, Cadwyn, Communities First, Careers Wales, Cardiff & Vale College, CITB, Construction Trust, Y Prentis and the Ex-Forces Career Transition Partnership.