Catalyst has this month marked the completion of 178 new homes on the site of former RAF Stanbridge in Leighton Buzzard.

Housing association Catalyst has redeveloped the historic RAF communications station to bring a mix of high-quality new houses and apartments for affordable rent, shared ownership and market sale to the Central Bedfordshire market town.

Just a mile and half from Leighton Buzzard town centre, the Rutherford Fields development brings 39 homes for affordable rent, 49 for shared ownership and 90 for open market sale along with two fully-equipped play areas.

Reflecting the site’s fascinating history and vital role as a secret radio communications base during the Second World War, the development has been named after a renowned scientist who was instrumental in the development of radio communications.

Formerly known as RAF Leighton Buzzard, RAF Stanbridge was created to be the main Central Exchange and Wireless Telegraph station for the RAF’s telephone and telegraph network. The base was operational from 1939 and was located in the area to be hidden from the enemy.

Along with other strategic sites including RAF Group 60, which controlled the electronic air defence network across Britain, and the now famous Bletchley Park, RAF Stanbridge played an invaluable and, until relatively recently, an invisible role in the outcome and end of the war.

Andrew Almond, Catalyst’s Managing Director for New Homes – Counties, said:

‘We’re delighted to bring this significant number of high-quality affordable new homes to Leighton Buzzard, and to reflect the area’s important RAF communications heritage in the development name. Rutherford Fields is one of Catalyst’s latest developments in Central Bedfordshire situated within the strategic Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

‘Later this year, we’ll be delivering more new affordable homes in the county at The Printworks in Dunstable and at The Lanes at Thorn Fields in Houghton Regis. These developments will bring much-needed high quality new homes to these central and prime locations and help create new communities near town centres with good transport links and close to parks and green spaces.’