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Equal billing with doctor's surgeries and local shops

- 98% of people in the North West people say high-speed broadband is important factor for social well-being in their community
- Community spirit is alive and well – 88.5% of people in the North West want to be part of a community
- However 25.2% say they are currently NOT living in a community and 9.9% do not know their next door neighbours’ names
- 81.4% of people do not think the government is doing enough to prioritise creating communities as part of its housebuilding plans
- Most important factors for the community in this region are a GP surgery, high-speed broadband and local shops

All those surveyed by housebuilder Redrow in the North West said that a GP surgery is important for creating a strong community. At 98%, community amenities such as local shops, butchers or a fishmongers are almost equally as important; and even more important than a post office or a village green.
The regional findings are broadly in line with national statistics which put a doctor’s surgery in first place (99.5%), followed by high speed broadband (98.1%), open space/recreation ground (97.6%) and local shops (97.2%).

The national findings are outlined in Redrow’s latest research report Creating Britain’s new communities [see full report attached], which comes shortly after the Government’s Housing White Paper highlighting the importance of digital infrastructure and its commitment to achieving full fibre connectivity.

The total survey of 2,000 consumers also revealed the top 10 most important factors for creating communities which promote social well-being. Nationally, local GP surgery came out at number one – the full ‘top 10’ can be seen in the table below (with urban vs. rural split).

 

Rank

Community Feature

Indicated as being important for creating a community

 

 

National

City/Town

Hamlet/Village

1

Doctor’s surgery

99.5%

99.4%

99.9%

2

High-speed broadband

98.1%

97.9%

98.3%

3

Open space/recreation ground

97.6%

97.7%

97.4%

4

 

Local shops (butcher, fishmonger etc.)

97.2%

97.7%

96.2%

5

Bus route

95.7%

96.6%

93.9%

6

Hospital

95.1%

95.3%

94.7%

7

Park/Village Green

94.7%

94.8%

94.6%

8

Post office

94.2%

94.4%

93.8%

9

Coffee shop/tea room

91.3%

92.6%

88.7%

10

Health visitor/district nurse

90.3%

90.5%

89.9%

 

The North West regional top 10 saw the importance of open space / recreational ground and local shops switching places, as did the provisional of a hospital with an A&E department and bus routes. Additionally, access to a primary school was more important than availability of a health visitor/district nurse.

 

Rank

Community Feature

Indicated as being important for creating a community

 

 

North West

1

Doctor’s surgery

100%

2

High-speed broadband

98%

3.

Local shops (butcher, fishmonger etc)

98%

4.

Open space/recreation ground

97%

5.

Hospital with A&E

95%

6.

Bus routes

95%

7.

Park/village green

94%

8.

Post Office

94%

9.

Coffee shop/tea room

93%

10.

Primary school

91%

 

Living in a community continues to be very important to the UK population, with 87% of people nationally wanting to be part of a community, but 25% currently do not feel they live in one. Nearly one in 10 (9%) cannot name their next door neighbour.

A significant majority (81%) of people said the government is not doing enough to prioritise creating communities as part of its housebuilding plans.

Rob Macdiarmid, Group Sustainability Director at Redrow, comments on the report:
“Our research shows that people strongly aspire to be part of a community. The reality however is that a good number of people feel a sense of detachment from their neighbours and others in their local area. They also believe that the Government can, and should, be doing more to reconcile communities.

“The Housing White Paper published by the Government in February emphasises the importance of supporting infrastructure to creating communities, but this sentiment can and should go further. Vibrant communities are beneficial to UK PLC as a whole and housebuilders must be gearing their strategies toward helping to create communities; a duty to do this borne out in legislation ought to be considered. The time is right for the housebuilding industry and national and local governments to come together and set out coherent principles for creating better places for people to live. The organisations that build our homes, including all housebuilders, should follow this blueprint.”

Embedding social value in the house building process
Redrow’s report highlights ways in which the housebuilding industry can contribute to building communities that promote social well-being. These include an industry-wide approach to structuring and undertaking post-occupancy evaluation studies (to assess how a place affects its people); creation of an industry-wide social value calculator (to make it easier to assess well-being) and a greater emphasis on welcoming and orientating people into a new community through social media platforms like Facebook, Streetlife.com and WhatsApp.

Redrow is also currently compiling a series of placemaking principles in order to further embed the placemaking ethos internally. These will distil the essence of a Redrow community and provide guidelines internally across the entire business for helping to create successful communities.

Warren Thompson, Redrow Homes’ northern regional chief executive, explains the current thinking at Redrow: “When we create new communities some of the top features we are currently integrating include good access to key local amenities, the ability to walk to schools, shops and social meeting places, such as pubs. Twenty years ago housebuilders tended to think about green areas last, but now these are the very first and central consideration on an upcoming development. As an industry we are also now thinking about how to encourage community integration. New people need to feel welcome for a community to continue to grow, so we are helping residents at new housing developments in small ways, such as setting up WhatsApp groups for social gatherings, like jogging or trips to the park, and welcome packs which inform people about the facilities available to them in the locality. By being made to feel welcome and facilitating social interaction people can start the process of social attachment.”

Redrow has two divisional operations covering the North West of England with developments across Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Lancashire. The company is creating two flagship garden villages in Woodford and Ledsham, both in Cheshire, encompassing all the attributes and amenities of a town such as new homes, a school, leisure and recreation facilities, complemented by an abundance of green open spaces.

For more information go to www.redrow.co.uk. Redrow was established in 1974. Today, it is one of the most successful and acclaimed property developers in the UK, building around 5,000 premium quality family homes a year in prime locations across England and Wales. Over Redrow’s history spanning more than 40 years, it has earned a unique reputation for quality and building beautiful homes, which people love to live in. To help achieve this it also focusses on two other key areas: valuing people and creating outstanding locations. Implementing its strategy whilst engaging with colleagues and stakeholders helps Redrow deliver significant value to investors and the wider community. Redrow is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 index. For the year ended 30th June 2016, the Group reported record revenues of £1.38 billion. Redrow has been awarded the ‘Best Large Housebuilder’ title twice in the last three years at the What House? Awards. This year, Redrow was named as a UK Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer for the fourth consecutive year. Visit redrow.co.uk for more details.