Fire Service College

Project date
  • Masterplanning
South West England
Knight Frank
Associated team members
Associated documents

URBED's approach to this site, as with all other sites was based on an understanding of its history. We became interested in the legacy of the airfield. 7th Avenue that snakes through the site was the taxi-way for the Wellington Squadron that used the airfield in the Second World War and the arms of this were where the planes were parked. The masterplan retains all of these features along with the extensive tree belts that have been planted up around the site. The plan seeks to create a clear link between the new development and the main road with links back into the town. The aim was to create an extension to Morton in Marsh that felt natural and functionally part of the town.

 URBED were appointed with Knight Frank in December 2009 to prepare an outline planning application for land owned by the Fire Service College in Morton in Marsh in the Cotswolds. The former RAF airfield is the national training centre for the Fire Service and is an extraordinary place with its own motorway, west coast main line railway, aircraft, ship and an assortment of buildings, all of which are used to train firefighters.

The south west corner of the site, adjoining Morton in Marsh and only 850m from its market square is surplus to requirements and the college has long wanted to sell this 14ha site to raise funds to invest in the college. This had been resisted on policy grounds but an opportunity presented itself late 2009 because of an increase in the number of houses to be accommodated by Cotswold Council.

The masterplan includes 300 units including 36 apartments as described below. The application was approved by committee on 2nd June 2010, the only housing site in the area to receive consent. Ian Stroud, our client at the college wrote to the team afterwards:

'After the excitement of yesterdays' positive decision by the Planning Committee (an exhausting and occasionally entertaining debate!) I wanted to put on record my personal thanks to you as a team in your achievement... We have a very desirable plot of land to sell for development which ultimately will mean investment in much needed new facilities at the College. I really do appreciate that you have all taken this project very much to your hearts - yes, it has been a fee earner but I recognise that there has been commitment 'over and above'.  



Project blog