Cabi and CALA Homes reach new landmark in new headquarters and homes development

CABI has handed over the keys to its former headquarters to CALA Homes – paving the way for a move into its new state-of-the-art office and the completion of the 91-home Carmel Meadows development in Wallingford.

02 July 2020

The move means CABI’s outdated building – a former school from the 1960s – will be demolished to allow CALA Homes to complete the building of 54 more homes, in addition to the 37 already constructed, at the site off Nosworthy Way. 

The properties include 18 affordable homes to meet local need and, as part of the development, CALA Homes is also contributing £1million towards local infrastructure and facilities.

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales opened the old CABI headquarters in September 1987 but the building has since become outdated and no longer fit for purpose – particularly in respect of its carbon footprint.

It is hoped that staff will be able to start moving into the new more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable headquarters, made possible through the sale of part of CABI’s land to CALA Homes, in August following a delay in construction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new headquarters features a photo-voltaic solar array system to harvest the sun’s energy, an extensive lightweight sedum green roof and a curtain wall system to allow for natural ventilation. Rooflights also provide natural top light to help reduce demand for electric lighting and help lower CO2 emissions.

Dr Trevor Nicholls, CABI CEO, said, “This really is the symbolic end of an ‘era’ and the start of a new beginning for CABI in a headquarters which is more aligned to its mission of helping to solve problems in agriculture and the environment – particularly in respect of its eco-friendly credentials.

“The development also demonstrates how a not-for-profit organisation, a major employer in Wallingford, can work in partnership with a developer in the housing sector for the wider benefit of the local community and town.”

Both CABI and CALA Homes have been mindful of landscaping which is sensitive to the location – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – with the planting of cypress trees, native hedgerows, low shrubs, ornamental plantings, perennial flowers and even a meadow to attract a broad range of insects, birds and other wildlife.

Gavin Stewart, Sales and Marketing Director for CALA Homes Chiltern, said, “This is a significant development for Wallingford and South Oxfordshire, both in terms of the provision of much-needed new homes and the retention of a globally-renowned organisation in the UK. 

“We’re delighted that the handing over of the keys to CABI’s former headquarters is allowing for more work to get underway and that the joint vision that both organisations have had for this site is now becoming a reality.”