Integrating sustainability into our developments

Many of our developments are planned in a way that encourages or supports community, environmental sustainability and economic vitality. Further information about how we integrate sustainability into our developments is available in our Corporate Responsibility Report.

Energy and water efficiency

Our house types include a range of sustainable design features ranging from highly energy efficient walls and windows, to insulated loft space. This reduces running costs for our customers and helps cut carbon emissions.

Inside our homes we use energy efficient fixtures and fittings, including 100% low energy light fittings and LED recessed down lights. All appliances that we offer as standard options in our homes are at least A rated for energy efficiency.

Through our Project 2020 research initiative we are testing a number of sustainable build technologies including off-site construction techniques such as timber frame and cross-laminated panels with wood fibre insulation and Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery systems. We will be reviewing the findings during 2019.

Examples of developments with environment features include Battersea Exchange, a vibrant new, mixed-use community in Central London. All 290 homes are highly energy-efficient and the whole development is BREEAM certified.

All properties at our Chobham Manor development in Stratford will offer reduced energy consumption, plus secure and controllable natural ventilation. The homes will also be connected to a low carbon heat network and a minimum of 20% of construction materials by value will be from recycled or sustainable sources.

All new Taylor Wimpey homes have water meters fitted, as well as low flow taps and showers, and dual flush toilets. Some developments include additional water saving features such as rainwater harvesting, reflecting local authority priorities. Examples include rainwater harvesting for use on external landscaping at Greenwich Millennium Village.

Placemaking and design

We are increasingly focused on placemaking – developing well-designed communities that meet the needs of residents and have a strong sense of identity and character.

We have appointed an urban designer to work with our regional businesses on placemaking and launched our Design Academy e-learning to raise awareness and improve understanding among our employees. We also run design review workshops and surgeries and internal design conferences.

A good example of placemaking is our Somerdale development in Keynsham, Somerset. Here we are creating 700 new homes on the site of the former Cadbury’s chocolate factory. For each section of the development a different design style has been used to add character. Mature trees have been retained and some of the historic buildings will be used for a new retirement village and employment space. Green spaces have been improved and woodland and a community orchard added to promote long term sustainability of this scheme. Around 29% of homes will be affordable including shared ownership and social rent.

During 2018, we ran our first internal placemaking design competition, aimed at promoting best practice design across the business. We judged almost 60 entries against the Building for Life criteria – a recognised tool for measuring good design. The three winning designs, which have all been submitted for planning permission in the last two years, were:

  • West Road, Sawbridgeworth - Centred around a green community space, this 135 home development will be an attractive new neighbourhood, well linked to the rest of Sawbridgeworth. The design takes advantage of the site’s context, providing views out to the countryside, with gardens backing on to the school.
  • Chobham Manor Phase 3, Stratford - This new residential quarter is built along a green promenade linking through to the Olympic Park. The design is contemporary but the townscape structure reflects the traditional vernacular and development patterns of Victorian and Georgian London. A mixed-use hub will provide a focal point for the community to meet, shop and socialise.
  • Roeshot Hill, Christchurch - This development will use green space, trees and squares to connect different parts of a linear site, providing recreation areas and creating attractive views from the 875 new homes.

Health and wellbeing

The way we design our homes and neighbourhoods can influence the health and wellbeing of future residents. This includes, for example, planning our developments to encourage walking, cycling and other physical activity, creating shared spaces for community interaction and socialising and providing access to nature and green spaces.

We are involved in three pilot projects as part of the Healthy New Town initiative with the NHS. This includes our Whitehill and Bordon development which is being designed to encourage active lifestyles and to be accessible for elderly residents and those with disabilities or dementia. One of the central features of the scheme will be a health hub. This will bring together GP surgeries with other health and wellbeing services such as physiotherapy, fitness, occupational health and social care, with the aim of providing an integrated service for the local community. A series of sporting and active lifestyle events have been launched, including a parkrun (a 5 km run held each Saturday), a healthy eating programme for local children, and the Golden Mile scheme which encourages children to walk a mile a day.

Enhancing ecological value

We integrate green infrastructure into our sites including parks, playing fields, woodlands and gardens, sustainable drainage features and planting, alongside roads and streets. This helps create a strong sense of place, supports water management, reduces flood risk and helps to enhance biodiversity.

We launched our Guide to Green Infrastructure in 2018, which incorporates recommendations from the Wildlife Trust. It aims to support our teams to plan and implement effective green infrastructure that supports biodiversity. Next we are developing a Home for Nature Toolkit, a compendium of practical measures which can be implemented on our sites to enhance biodiversity.

Recent examples include our site in Stepps, West Scotland, where we have improved local marshland, with the creation of new ponds and channels and refuge areas for amphibians, as well as bird and bat boxes and a new butterfly meadow and bare ground areas. Two nature trails have been added to encourage residents to get out and enjoy the natural environment. The site also includes amphibian tunnels under the new roads, enabling frogs, toads and newts to migrate safely from the marshland to the neighbouring loch.

At Cambourne, six hectares of new lakes and wetlands were created providing areas for recreation and bringing new species of birds, mammals and insects onto the site. At The Chilterns development we have incorporated wildlife-friendly planting such as mature trees and native shrubs. And at Chase, in partnership with the Wildlife Trust, we developed a comprehensive landscape strategy to enhance its nature conservation value.

Brown and green living roofs have vegetation planted or allowed to grow on them. They provide a range of benefits including reducing stormwater run-off and wildlife habitats. Our City Mills development in London is being built with green and brown roofs, our Chobham Manor development is integrating brown roofs and green walls and Academy Central in London also includes green roofs.

Green travel

Many of our sites have a Travel Plan which sets out any investments in transport infrastructure and how we will encourage alternatives to car travel. In 2018, around 52% of the homes we built were within 500m of public transport.

Good public transport links are an important feature of many of our sites. At The Bridge development in Dartford, for example, a local bus rapid transit system runs directly to the development.

Larger sites often provide more opportunities to promote sustainable transport options. For example, our sites at Chobham Manor and the Greenwich Millennium Village both include car sharing schemes, electric vehicle charging points and a network of cycle paths and pedestrian footways. At Broomhouse in Glasgow, every home has been equipped with an electric vehicle charging point.

Cherry Tree Park, a rural development in the village of Shavington, Cheshire, is designed to encourage residents and the community to walk more and drive less. Developed by Taylor Wimpey Manchester, it is laid out around a central green space. Pedestrian and cycle links offer a picturesque travel route between the site and the village. Traffic calming measures have been integrated to slow vehicles down and create a safe environment for walkers and cyclists.

Community networks

We support the development of local networks and seek to encourage a strong sense of community on our schemes. This includes investing in new community facilities and organising events that provide networking opportunities for local residents and help create connections between community organisations.

At our Leybourne Chase site in Kent, for example, we have funded a community development worker to help set up the Community Development Trust and foster connections between residents and community organisations. This has included organising events and activities at the new community centre, and supporting the formation of community groups, including a youth club and parents’ group.

At our Howe Barracks site, in Canterbury, we have established the Community Development Trust at an early stage, before any new homes have been built. The Trust will work to foster a sense of community as construction work progresses and to run the new community centre which will be created in one of the retained buildings on the site.

Installing infrastructure at an early stage can help in the successful development of a new community. We are looking at how we can increase early delivery of community infrastructure to maximise its positive impact. For example, at Whitehill and Bordon we developed and opened new green spaces, a skate park, play area and sports pavilion before any customers moved in.

Promoting local economic development

Our developments can provide a boost to the local economy through new housing, new jobs on site and in the supply chain, increased revenues for local businesses and investments in new infrastructure and amenities such as shops, doctors’ surgeries, cafes and other facilities.

For example, our development at Sherford – a new county town for Devon with 5,500 homes - will create business and commercial opportunities worth an estimated £2 billion to the local economy. This includes 400 jobs during the build and around 5,000 after completion, in the new shops, businesses, schools and community facilities of the new town. We are one of three partners in the Sherford Consortium. The Sherford Skills Training Scheme is boosting local skills and providing apprenticeships.

At our Keynsham development in Somerset we are working with suppliers and Bath College to provide opportunities for young people to gain valuable work experience. This includes apprenticeships as well as educational site visits and work placements for local students.

We work with many small and medium sized (SME) businesses providing labour and services, including suppliers that are local to our sites. This can boost the local economy and can also bring beneficial diversity into our supply chain. Recent examples include our Chobham Manor site in East London, where at least 28% of the on-site workforce is recruited from the four neighbouring boroughs. We have also run ‘Meet the Buyer’ events for local SME businesses to meet our commercial team and learn how to apply through our tender processes.

Protecting our heritage

Historic buildings and other unique local heritage features can contribute to good placemaking, enhancing a site’s character and sense of place. We aim to protect local heritage and incorporate it into our development plans. For example, at our Whitehill and Bordon development buildings of heritage value are to be renovated to enable them to be put into alternative sustainable uses such as restaurants, bars, a theatre and a hotel.

At our Quedgeley, Kingsway development, Taylor Wimpey Bristol will be restoring the moat associated with a listed manor farm building and restocking the historic orchard with over 70 Old Gloucestershire pear and apple trees. At our development at the former Cadbury’s chocolate factory in Keynsham, Somerset, some of the historic buildings are being redeveloped by local charity the St Monica Trust to provide a retirement community featuring assisted-living apartments and a care home.

We regularly work with archaeologists. For example our Sherford Consortium in Devon (a collaboration between three developers) held an open day to share archaeological discoveries made on the site. As part of this initiative, children were able to join a practice dig with archaeologists while experts explained some of the history associated with Early Bronze Age burial mounds, round houses, and ancient artefacts found on the site, including pottery and coins.

Public art

Planning agreement contributions regularly include public art. Recent examples include several public art works installed at our Battersea Exchange development in central London.

At our Pennington Wharf development in Wigan, we have celebrated the town’s mining history with a new art installation honouring miners who lost their lives in the local pit.