Building Brabazon: The latest news from the construction team 

2020 has been a year unlike any other. We asked Rob Benson, Construction Director at YTL Developments, to explain how his team have adapted to ensure that building work could continue at Brabazon, ready for the first residents to begin moving in next year.

What’s been the impact of the pandemic? Are you still making good progress? 

Yes – I’m really pleased that we are still making good progress. It is fantastic to see the shape of this new neighbourhood emerge. 

It’s the little things that really stand out for me – seeing the curve of the crescent emerge or the neat details coming through in the brickwork of our new homes. 

We expect to complete our first homes on schedule for new residents to move in at Brabazon in early 2021. 

It’s been a challenging time for everyone – how have you and your team responded? 

Clearly it hasn’t been business as usual for us. We’ve adapted the way we work to keep all our staff safe, brought in additional measures to adhere to social distancing regulations and had to be flexible with our plans. 

But I’m really proud of the way the team has responded. And not just our in-house staff: we are working with a great range of local firms as partners and suppliers. Everyone has pulled together and come up with some really impressive and innovative ways to tackle the challenges we have faced. 

It sounds like building Brabazon feels very personal to you? 

Absolutely. 

I’m the third generation of my family to work at the former Filton Airfield. My grandfather helped build the Brabazon Hangars. To this day my father remembers visiting him at work and walking across the roof as the hangars were being built. Living up to the legacy of that past is important to me. 

In many ways I think there are similarities with between that era and what we’re doing today.

Building a new neighbourhood is a really exciting prospect – Brabazon is perhaps the most ambitious and innovative regeneration project in the country. It’s great to feel our team – including all the local firms we are working with - pull together to deliver it, much like the teams that created all the great aircraft that flew from the old runway here. 

Finally, looking ahead, what’s the most exciting thing about Brabazon? 

The last few months have shown the real strength of local communities. And that’s always been our vision for Brabazon - to create a thriving new community. 

Through the restrictions, the most resilient neighbourhoods have been those where people can buy food from local stores, visit a park, walk or cycle to work, and access essential services all within a few minutes of home. Places where people know and care for each other.

Brabazon has been designed to make that vision a reality. My hope is that in over the years, Brabazon will become an example of what a sustainable, diverse and inclusive modern neighbourhood looks like. For our team, that ideal and sense of purpose feels more important now than ever.