Building new communities

Tuesday 8 November marks World Town Planning Day. It’s a date when people across the globe celebrate the accomplishments of planners – and the contributions they make to their communities.

So why is planning so important? And how do housebuilders create new developments that fit perfectly within the communities that surround them?

At Barratt we’ve been building great homes for more than half a century. Our priority now is to go even further than that – to create great places to live. And this is what underpins our planning for every single development we design.

We do this from the very beginning of the planning process through proper engagement with other stakeholders, including local authorities, statutory bodies, local councillors and local people – whether they are existing residents or potential buyers.

Great Places is our design initiative. It provides guidance on how to create schemes which will achieve Built for Life accreditation – and it provides us with a means of assessing our finished developments. It’s important for us to know for sure that our design vision has been well delivered.

During the planning for each and every development, we follow some key guidance. The first thing we do is analyse the local area, to see how our new home and development designs might integrate into the neighbourhood. Then we look at the practical elements – like how might people use street spaces? How can we accommodate parking? How do we provide adequate bin and cycle storage? How easy is access to the local transport network and amenities? All of these are important issues in modern life, and they certainly have an impact on the quality of the new neighbourhood, once it’s established.

Similarly any new facilities that we create as part of a new development – from substantial parks to small local play facilities or simple meeting points – should be accessible by others who live nearby. We want our new schemes to play a major role in the vitality of the areas we build in, giving benefit to both new and existing residents.

We place a great deal of emphasis on planning because creating great places to live takes serious consideration. We want to help create new communities that residents, and others living close by, can be rightly proud of.

Tim Hill, managing director of Barratt Homes Southampton

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