The Prime Minister’s ‘build, build, build’ mandate will require significant investment in regional regeneration projects. One ‘shovel-worthy’ scheme is Stevenage - one of the original ‘new towns’ - being driven by Mace Develop. But what else must the construction sector do to move forward?
Mace’s associate director for Develop, Sarah Hughes, discusses Mace’s plans as a developer to transform Stevenage with SG1 - the landmark regeneration of its town centre. Sarah says that SG1 can serve as a model for town centre regeneration across the country, helping communities in their recovery, in the latest PropCast, the industry’s leading property podcast.
Town centre regeneration has been on the government’s agenda for a few years and delivery is now more important than ever, as town centres can drive growth with job opportunities, community hubs and a vision for the future. Stevenage was one of the original ‘new town’ developments, created after World War II.
Since 2017 Mace has been working closely with Stevenage Borough Council to take SG1 from design stage on to delivery, engaging with the local community to consider their needs and views, taking them on the planning and delivery journey. Here, Mace is developing and creating 1,867 new homes and new spaces to support the community in Stevenage.
Sarah remarks: “We’re doing more than just updating the town centre with new spaces, we’re setting an aspirational way of living. What we do can be used as a model for town centre regeneration elsewhere. Some of the principles we’re applying to deliver SG1, such as sustainability, from design to delivery and operations, can serve as a blueprint for developments of this size and complexity.”
Mace said it is installing photovoltaic solar panels to power the new buildings, electric charging points and also enhancing the biodiversity in the local area.
In the podcast, Sarah also discusses the changing face of the industry and the need for more female role models and a higher level of engagement with people who may not previously have considered property or construction for a career.
As co-chair of Women at Mace, one of the company’s internal diversity networks, promoting female leadership in the real estate and construction sector, Sarah is firmly looking to drive change and believes the industry needs to come together more closely.
Raising awareness of career paths in construction and real estate by promoting female role models to a younger generation can go a long way changing perceptions about the industry. Companies like Mace can use the power of its networks to move the sector forward in increasing diversity and inclusion.
Sarah says: “Since we initially set up Women at Mace a year ago, we’ve gone from no members to a significant number of people who are part of the network. The construction sector can do more to empower female leadership and this is what we are aiming to do by offering a platform for discussion and finding solutions for these diversity issues.”
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