Beckingham Cadet Training Centre is an innovative new build with sustainability and low carbon construction at the forefront of the design.




MoD DREAM Excellent Targeted
Blue Light & MOD / Defence

The new training facility will accommodate upto 150 student cadets and 30 cadet leaders / staff and will include dormitories, a state-of-the-art ancillary building housing classrooms and kitchens as well as external training spaces.  

Having identified the requirement for a new training facility for the cadets, the MOD looked at a number of locations to ensure the most suitable was chosen. The site is adjacent to an existing facility used primarily by the TA/Reserve Forces. The land, currently used for grazing, features rare and historic Ridge and Furrows from farming dating back to Anglo Saxon times.


The driving force behind the design of the new Centre is limiting the impact on the natural environment and the historic site the facilities will sit on.


The massing of the new scheme provides a large amenity block with an ancillary storage space adjacent, and three separated dorm buildings.

Each building is single storey and each of the masses are orientated to follow the ‘ridge and furrow’ of the landscape.

The site layout is optimised to create pockets of social space that can be used for tactical and formal training drills amongst the landscape. Aside from the seriousness of training, the spaces can double up as social space in which cadets can enjoy outdoor activities, socialising with fellow cadets.




The amenity block provides a large, open plan dining space with retractable partition walls to creative flexible teaching spaces when the dining area is not in use.



The dormitory blocks have double sided access and have traditional pitched roofs that have large overhanging eaves to provide sheltered access for the Cadets.

The singular adult dormitory block is mono-pitched and provides the same sheltered access.


An ‘excellent’ rating is targeted against the MoD DREAM assessment methodology. 

The buildings will be of a timber frame structure, supported on an arrangement of recycled tyre foundations, lifting the buildings above the existing Medieval ‘Ridge and Furrow’ field workings, eliminating the need for carbon-heavy materials like concrete or steel.  The accessible dorms will be connected by an elevated walkway that floats above the ground, minimising the impact on the landscape, doubling up as an accessible route across the uneven terrain.


Incorporating materials which hold biogenic carbon as well as recycled elements will reduce embodied carbon.

This approach will also minimise end of life waste when the blocks are demolished, as timber, gabions and tyres can be reused or recycled further contributing towards a circular economy.


Beyond their materiality, the blocks are designed to be energy efficient. Their considered orientation sees optimal sun gains in winter with protection from overheating in summer by use of canopies and gabion walls. Mineral wool insulation and photovoltaic panels bring operational carbon close to net zero and the amenity block features a green roof. 



Externally, the landscaping design has been developed to provide shade and screening by introducing more native plant species with new trees and hedgerows. Simultaneously, ornamental species will be used to attract pollinators. 


Both of these strategies take a sensitive approach and aim to significantly improve the site’s biodiversity and provide carbon offsetting. The sustainable drainage strategy of utilising Swales will also add a different type of biodiversity on this primarily rural site.


The selection of materials was carefully considered to fit aesthetically with the surrounding rural context and agricultural buildings. Equally, given the nature of the accommodation it is anticipated that a high level of robustness will be required due to the frequency of its use, therefore, functional materials with good longevity are specified.  However, it is also acknowledged that a certain sense of ‘homeliness’ is required in order to provide some comfort to cadets that are, perhaps, away from home for the first time.