With the arrival of a new decade come critical challenges and opportunities for the new parliament.
The ensuing and highly charged narrative surrounding home ownership, homelessness and community segregation has influenced successive governments’ agendas for the past 10 years.
The surge of new MPs taking up the green benches for the first time in Westminster should reinvigorate the focus on housebuilding, but more so on creating sustainable communities for generations to come, further validating the work being undertaken by the commission championing beautiful buildings.
A multitude of factors must combine to effectively unlock the potential of a place for everyone. It is vital that housebuilders, housing associations and political authorities at municipal and national levels work together to set a suitable brief. Only by doing this will we realise the full potential of a scheme, particularly when it comes to optimising social and economic outcomes.
Design-led building is and should be the blueprint for the way we craft new places for people to live and work in. Looking beyond the obvious aspects of how a home appears within the four walls to its residents, high-quality design encapsulates how transport infrastructure, education and community facilities, leisure spaces and residential dwellings integrate with one another in order to make a positive impact.
The influence of the architectural design of a development, down to the street level, is powerful. A notable example of this is Beam Park, our 3,000-home development being delivered through a joint venture between Countryside and L&Q on a GLA-owned site.
The 71-acre regeneration will include major new infrastructure including a railway station, two primary schools, medical and multi-faith centres and retail and commercial amenities. Comprising a range of open spaces, which account for 77% of the masterplan, Beam Park provides residents with a complete framework for living in a vibrant community that encourages outdoor activities and social opportunities.
Taking careful consideration when developing a masterplan and involving the existing community from the outset ensures that design perspectives from a larger demographic are fed into how a place will be reimagined.
We strive to improve local economies and bring social value to everybody
This goes beyond creating homes for one type of resident. The longevity of a regeneration site is guaranteed greater success when it is designed with different segments of society in mind. By incorporating mixed-tenure homes into a development, a more inclusive and cosmopolitan community is catered for.
At Countryside, our mission – now over six decades old – has always been to go beyond just building homes; we strive to improve local economies and bring social value to everybody involved. Under-considering the brief for a scheme and lack of investment in design come at a cost not just for us as an industry but ultimately for the generations of people we strive to build for.
Mike Woolliscroft is chief executive, partnerships south, at Countryside