Thought to date back to ancient Scandinavia, the tradition of topping out is historically marked by placing a yew tree on the top of a new building to appease tree dwelling spirits. With the past being as important as Oakfield’s future, we honoured this tradition, as well as adding in our own special ways of recognising this meaningful date.

We invited a group of stakeholders to the site for the afternoon to celebrate with us. This included members of the local community, MP for South Swindon Robert Buckland, and some of our partners in the project including Joe Garner, CEO of Nationwide Building Society, Oakfield’s lead sponsor.

Guests were treated to a tour of the site to see how far construction has come and gathered on the roof (socially distanced of course), to witness the yew tree being hoisted to the top of Forest View, Oakfield’s hub building. Our construction partner Mi-space also added their own touch with the presenting of an engraved Oakfield trowel which we’ll be keeping for posterity and to remember the day for years to come.

“As a local MP, I was delighted to have been engaged and involved in this project right from the start” said MP Robert Buckland. “I’m particularly pleased to see Nationwide’s commitment to its home town [Swindon] and the wider community. Today is a major milestone and it’s great to see this important site, at the heart of Swindon, being built in a way that we can all be proud”.

Topping out is essentially about the impact of a building on its surrounding environment. We’re not too concerned about the tree spirits, however, to create quality, sustainable homes that people want and the planet needs, we’ve placed a large focus on the sustainability of the homes. Oakfield will be entirely off-gas run on air source heat pumps and will incorporate lots of green spaces.

A development with community at its roots, we’ve aimed to engage the existing community at every step of the Oakfield journey. That’s why it was important for us to have people who live, work and learn in the area, with us for the special day. “I can’t express my gratitude enough to the very many people who have contributed” said Joe Garner, CEO at Nationwide… “and most strongly to the member of the community who ultimately, this whole thing is about helping to serve”.

“It’s amazing to think that this whole thing started with an idea a few years ago” said Zamzam, a local resident…”and to see how far it’s come is just amazing”.

"I feel very privileged to be representing The Shop in an established community, but also as part of a new evolving project that will become another local community", said Melanie Hall, representative of The Shop, a local charity shop, set up to support and develop volunteering in the area. "I think the mixture of old and new is a very positive thing. There is knowledge and skills that both the old and new community can share with each other, which can only enrich both".