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Wheat Quarter receives SBD Gold Award

Wheat Quarter Phase 1 in Welywn Garden City has been presented with a Secured by Design (SBD) Gold Award from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Chief Constable, Charlie Hall and Police CPI’s CEO Guy Ferguson.

The development, which is under construction at the iconic former Shredded Wheat factory site on Broadwater Road, has won praise from the force thanks to the innovative planning which went into the site from the start. Higgins Partnerships has worked with local police Designing Out Crime Officers to ensure the eventual residents will live in a super secure environment, where crime had been designed out.

The historic site was originally built in the 1920s, after being commissioned by Welwyn Garden City planner Ebenezer Howard (for whom the Howard Centre is named), to attract Shredded Wheat manufacturers Nabisco to the town and has been an iconic part of the area ever since.

The factory finally closed its doors in 2008 after 73 years of use and remained unused until it was given planning permission in 2009. Building began in 2014, when more than 200 flats were constructed at the site in consultation with police crime prevention officers, all to SBD standards.

Security features at the development will include each resident having an access fob, which grants entry into the flat blocks, garage areas and even controls the lifts so that each resident can only access the floor they live on. The most important part of the construction was that every door, window, lock or camera is a product that has had independent testing to prove it is fit-for-purpose.

Since the first residents moved in, the area has been almost completely crime free, with burglaries etc. much lower than in other areas of the town. The next phase of the development is now almost complete with another 208 flats completed, also built to the same SBD blueprint.

Wheat Quarter phase 1

Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Constabulary, Charlie Hall, said: “The Shredded Wheat factory that used to be occupy this site was opened in 1926 and offered the community new employment opportunities, and sadly in 2008 the factory ceased production. It didn’t take long for the abandoned site to become a hub for ASB and crime, and in turn an extra demand on police resources and a bigger burden on the quality of life for the residents of Welwyn.

“In Hertfordshire we have moved to a Prevention First policing approach, to give ourselves a better chance of preventing crime, rather than having to pick up the pieces after an incident has happened. At the heart of this is working together to reduce demand, and the planning of this development strikes at the very core of this principle. Our crime prevention team were in talks from the start of this development to ensure that whatever was built on the site, had crime prevention at the very heart of it, to ensure that Howard’s dream of a better quality of life extends on to existing and new members of the Welwyn Garden City community that will go on to call this place home.

“I want to say a big and well deserved thank you to the developers for trusting us and allowing our involvement to make this the safest development it could be. On behalf of us and the Secured by Design team, I’m delighted to award the Higgins Partnerships the Gold Award Certificate for the completion of the first phase of The Wheat Quarter which is Secured by Design.”