We are committed to undertaking tailored, development-specific engagement with communities, such as local people, community groups and local authorities, on each and every one of our UK sites. Involving both individuals and organisations within communities helps us to understand and manage the effects of our developments and to create desirable places to live that meet local needs.
In our developments the design of the spaces and infrastructure around the homes is as important as the homes themselves. 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. Good placemaking incorporates many elements, from the layout of the development to the integration of green spaces and access to transport, facilities and amenities.
We often build or make financial contributions towards roads, schools, community centres, public open space and playgrounds. During 2016 we committed c.£393million to infrastructure, community facilities, education and schools, jobs, businesses and affordable housing via planning agreement contributions.
To be truly sustainable, everything on a development must also be looked after in the long term to avoid falling into disrepair and disuse. Once we have finished building, we pass responsibility for the upkeep of the infrastructure to an appropriate organisation. This may be the local authority, utility company, a private management company or community-based trust, depending on the scale and nature of what has been provided. We set up the most suitable long-term management solution for each development.
Careful planning of the right mixture of homes, from smaller apartments for first-time buyers to larger houses for growing families, provides living space for a balanced community. In 2016 19% of the homes we built were designated as affordable housing. We support the Government's Help to Buy equity load scheme and other schemes. In 2016 approximately 39% of total sales used the scheme and we worked with 5,393 households to take the first step to home ownership or to move up the housing ladder. Approximately 77% of sales through Help to Buy in 2016 were to first time buyers.
To find out more about the different ways we can help you to buy your new home please click here.