Cross Keys Homes’ Northminster development opens its doors to the public
Cross Keys Homes' Northminster development opens its doors to the public

Cross Keys Homes’ landmark Peterborough housing project, the Northminster development, recently opened its doors to a college and members of the public to build a greater understanding of the construction industry through national contractor Willmott Dixon.

The visit formed part of Open Doors week, an annual event that allows thousands of people to go behind the hoardings to learn how the building project in their community is being constructed and meet those responsible for it.

The £70m city-centre project, a development with Cross Keys Homes (CKH), offered an insightful visit for visitors from Peterborough college and members of the public living nearby. Because this project uses modern methods of construction, it also attracted a Build UK director for a visit. Off the back of the event, students from Stamford college will also be visiting the site in the near future.

Dan Doyle, director at Willmott Dixon, said: “The Northminster development’s involvement in Open Doors week was a big success. It is an important annual initiative for two reasons; showcasing the huge range of careers available in construction to the next generation and those seeking employment, and opening up local projects for the public to find out about the exciting projects happening in their community. All future homes at this project are to be let at discounted rents, set at or below 80% of the normal market rate, so this also gave potential residents the opportunity to find out more about the development.  

“Northminster was a fantastic site to open as part of this event. The ten-storey flagship development acts as a perfect example of using modern methods of construction rather than more traditional construction methods, bringing benefits such as a reduction in carbon and increased efficiency and programme certainty. For the next generation, this is something they must become familiar with if they aspire to join the industry.”

As well as an overview of the project and a health and safety briefing, attendees were able to see two tower cranes lifting the panelised frame system into place – one of the steps needed prior to the innovative bathroom pods, which are being manufactured offsite.

Work began on the project in March 2022 and is due to be finished in 2024, when it will provide 315 much-needed, affordable homes in Peterborough’s city centre, along with two ground-floor units suitable for leisure, hospitality or commercial use.

CKH’s Technical Director – Northminster, Gary Clarke said: “It was fantastic to welcome so many people to our Northminster development site recently along with a Build UK director. It is really important to both CKH and Willmott Dixon that we offer these opportunities so that members of the public can see first-hand what it entails to work in the development and building industry. I hear those who visited really enjoyed themselves and managed to gain a lot from the experience, which was exactly the intended purpose here.”

With an estimated 266,000 new construction employees required by 2026, the sites involved in Open Doors 2023 were selected to highlight the range of different roles available in construction.

Among the 29 live sites, longstanding Open Doors partner Willmott Dixon included transport interchanges, police stations, schools, sites with a strong sustainability focus and even a BIM virtual-reality design centre.

Recently declared the UK’s ‘best big company to work for’ at the Best Companies awards, Willmott Dixon is proud to be part of a nationwide project granting opportunities to the next generation of workers.