Temple Farm, Chelmsford

Temple Farm is an outstanding and innovative campus development on the outskirts of Chelmsford.

A former scrapyard, this 34 hectare site in the heart of Essex has been developed to become the new headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Britain. It is only the second BREEAM Communities project worldwide to be awarded an Outstanding rating.

The MW Approach

Temple Farm will provide a live and work campus which complements its surrounding with attractive and sustainable building and landscape design. Respect and care for the environment are both core beliefs of Watch Tower and incorporating sustainable design measures that are ‘Above and Beyond’ standard industry practice publicly demonstrates this.

Temple Farm is also the first ever project to be awarded a BREEAM Communities Innovation credit for reducing carbon transport emissions attributed to construction workers by housing the majority of workers adjacent to the site.

Construction of the entrance swale at MW’s Temple Farm development

Murdoch Wickham were extensively involved in this large scale, complex landscape project that embraced the full spectrum of landscape design and sciences. From an early stage of our involvement in this flagship project it was clear that the development of the landscape strategy for the site would be a fully collaborative process involving the client’s own in house design team of architects and engineers along with specialist consultants in the fields of arboriculture and ecology.

Phase 1 construction development, April 2017

Phase 1 construction development, July 2017

The MW Vision

Temple Farm is unique for both its complexity and also the detail in which each aspect of its rejuvenation has been dealt with. Even though much of the site was badly contaminated, with over 8,000 tyres found buried on site, it also contained some genuine landscape assets including a number of veteran trees, overgrown hedgerows, interesting rolling topography and bodies of water– all of which were key players in the evolution of the site wide design.

An extensive list of out door activities was also to be catered for and sensitively integrated into the landscape masterplan. We were also challenged with creating a landscape design that would significantly enhance the ecology and biodiversity of the site along with creating a site specific planting schedule, eighty percent of which being native species.

The site was previously heavily contaminated

Construction of the outdoor performance amphitheatre

A net gain in ecological biodiversity was achieved by implementing an Ecology Strategy and MW’s Landscape & Ecological Management Plan. Detailed ecological surveys of the site had also identified some important and rare target species including bats and dormice. Overall the decontamination of the site along with the protection and management afforded to its natural assets should be considered as an exemplar for any other similar scheme.

The MW Touch

Several workshops were held with the client at The Tithe Barn

It was clearly evident from the regular workshops that steered the evolution of the site wide landscape masterplan that we were dealing with a client who had an unfettered desire to do exactly the right thing. To develop their site in a truly holistic and environmentally sensitive way by utilising and enhancing its existing natural attributes and adding in depth value to them whenever an opportunity was identified. This collaborative process has been well ordered and highly creative– a fantastic project to be involved with.

Project Details


  • BREEAM Communities 2012 Assessment, Score: Outstanding
  • Susdrain SuDS Awards 2018, Winner in Small Scale New Build SuDS Category


Strategic Land


IBSA – Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Britain


2015 – Ongoing

Murdoch Wickham strives to create successful spaces for communities to use and enjoy.

Our vast range of experience and passion for design excellence allows us to enhance the environment, both sustainably and for the community.
Murdoch Wickham, The Tithe Barn, Bradbourne House, East Malling, Kent, ME19 6DZ
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