We are committed to undertaking tailored, development-specific engagement with local 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.
When we redeveloped the St George's Hospital site in Rothwell we renovated the old clock tower and made it the centrepeice of the new development. Crescents of townhouses surround the impressive building and roads radiate from it.
The design of the spaces and infrastructure around the homes is as important as the homes themselves. Good urban design considers the quality and character of places and public spaces, and the connections between them. We look to create places that can improve the health and well-being of both individuals and the wider community. We may achieve this by providing appropriate community facilities and public open space or simply by providing routes to help residents reach existing facilities within surrounding areas.
We also do much more than build homes. We often build or make financial contributions towards roads, schools, community centres, public open space and playgrounds. During 2014 we committed c.£300m 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 2014 17.5% 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 2014 approximately 35% of total sales used the scheme and we worked with c.4,400 households to take the first step to home ownership or to move up the housing ladder. Approximately 73% of sales through Help to Buy in 2014 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.