Our Business Plan 2016-2020 has increased our new homes aspiration to 1,000 over the next four years in Watford & Three Rivers. We have completed 92 homes since 2012 with a further 324 either on site or in detailed planning stages.
We’re constantly looking at the pipeline of new homes to deliver our 1,000 target. This is from our own land and also working with other developers on partnership projects.
In the delivery of our new developments, we are following the principles of our Great Spaces, Healthy Places design brief, which emphasises the following 6 principles:
‘Community focus’ is the our number one objective. We understand that to be truly successful, developing new communities must involve more than streets and buildings.
As a Gateway organisation we shall involve our communities centrally in the design process, and understand their views on the homes and services we should provide.
Sense of place
We understand the importance of developing neighbourhoods that have a strong identity, character, and recognition of the heritage of their location as well as their relationship to the wider community.
Our new developments should make places that have lasting popularity because they are safe and secure for residents, attractive in their design and provide for the diverse needs of the residents of Watford and Three Rivers.
It is of prime importance that our new homes are affordable to provide and for our residents to live in. As energy costs increase and welfare reform is introduced, we must be mindful of the running costs for residents as well as rent levels. Therefore, we shall aim to make our homes as well insulated, ventilated and thermally efficient as we can to stabilise temperatures and to minimise the requirements to heat up and cool down the internal environment.
With a restricted amount of funding, our new homes must be affordable to build. In this regard, if we can have a clearer understanding of their cost in use, then we can aim to set rents (within our control) which reflect this and adequately support the investment.
It is also key that new developments do not adversely affect other budget concerns for residents, such as service charges. Communal spaces and services shall be designed efficiently to minimise ongoing maintenance costs.
Cost in use is also a major consideration when we consider the planned maintenance of new developments, and the ‘life cycle’ of new homes. In this regard, design audits will identify areas for efficiency in design and specification to limit future liabilities.
We believe that innovation is important to building better homes, in the way they are designed, constructed, heated and energised. We wish to make the most of
‘passive’ design concepts and are also confident that the quality, time, cost and environmental benefits of offsite production will be realised when the industry fully embraces such processes.
Renewable energy applications can be helpfully integrated to well designed homes, and in an age of increasing fossil fuel charges we should seek to maintain energy cost security in our new homes.
We are also keen to promote innovative procurement processes, to drive out waste and unnecessary expense in building new homes. We shall pursue social enterprise and supply chain initiatives which generate better financial and social returns from our projects.
It is accepted that innovation often comes at a cost, and we will assess & mitigate risk with new practices to ensure that viability is not compromised.
Our communities will continue to be successful if we can provide homes for households large and small, for people from all ethnicities, ages and physical needs. The homes we provide may be targeted at specific need determined by their location, but they should be adaptable to changing requirements as they arise and we will set general standards for accessibility and make components easy to operate.
We are also keen to promote mixed use within our new developments as appropriate to their scale. This can support our aim to provide Community Hubs, which offer a range of services to residents for work, recreation, education and meeting.
Sustainability is a term often used in the design of modern homes, but we believe that sustainability incorporates the combined delivery of each of the above factors. If our designers and developer partners recognise this, and follow the our standards, we will together build better homes and create an environment for friendlier communities.
We are keen to work with other partners in Watford & Three Rivers on new projects, please have a look at our brochure and click here for the Watford Residential Design Guide. If you have land or a new development proposal you wish to discuss with us, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.