When you think about what you might look for in a new house, the appeal of the local neighbourhood is likely to be every bit as important as great interior design or a brand new kitchen.
That’s why it’s vital that developers aim to build thriving communities as well as just houses – and a new development often brings significant benefits for people living nearby as well as those moving into a new home.
Communities need good shops, schools, roads, meeting places, sports pitches, allotments and green open spaces, as well as new housing for local people who otherwise would be unable to own their own home – and we play a key role in bringing these facilities to the areas in which we build.
New facilities for a new community
At the new Cranbrook community in Devon, for example, we’re spending £25.5 million on new services and facilities for local residents as part of our Section 106 planning agreement, which sets out the contributions required from the developer when planning permission is granted.
These new services and facilities include a new bypass around Clyst Honiton – a historic village to the west of Cranbrook – and two new primary schools. We have also built a multi-purpose building which will act as a focal point for the new community and house a doctor’s surgery, a library, town council offices and a community hall.
At Great Western Park, Oxfordshire, we are investing £60 million in improvements to local roads, education provision and other community facilities. We’re providing new public open space, as well as various outdoor sports areas, including full-size cricket, rugby and football pitches, four tennis courts and a pavilion. We are also investing in youth sport by providing four junior football pitches, three mini pitches and two multi-use games areas.
Working with communities
As well as paying for improvements to local facilities, we also work to build positive relationships with local people. We support communities through charitable contributions towards local events, sports teams, schools and other organisations.
Our employees also visit schools and host on-site visits to educate pupils about issues involving the housing industry, from the dangers of playing on building sites to energy efficiency measures and construction processes.
But the benefits we bring don’t stop there. As a major local employer we recognise the importance of investing in the future workforce through apprenticeships and training.
What’s more, we regenerate significant areas of derelict or disused land to create vibrant new communities where people want to live and work in partnership with local people by involving them in the planning process through community engagement.
The vital statistics
In 2013 the benefits we brought to communities across the UK included:
- Community contributions totalling £227 million for infrastructure, education, public transport and affordable housing under Section 106 planning agreements.
- Jobs for 3,972 people, including contractors, sub-contractors and sales staff on our developments
- Total charitable donations of over £327,000
- A further £88,000 raised by employees for chosen charities