Creating 'The Conservation Areas of the Future'​

I was fascinated to read in The Times this Week (24 October) about the recent Foundation for Integrated Transport report, Transport for New Homes.  It starkly reveals the lack of thought that so many of our developer colleagues are putting into making sure that new residential developments are easily and safely accessible by foot and bicycle, as well as by car. It is dispiriting that so many residential schemes are still being built around the needs of the car with little thought given to green space, as though time has stood still since the 1970s and 80s.  

As an industry, we need to be imaginative in finding new ways to promote liveability, healthy lifestyles and sustainability in the neighbourhoods we create.   However, the report which can be found here, found that in many new residential schemes as much as 40% of the land is still being dedicated to the needs of the car – roads, driveways, parking spaces and garages – with pedestrian and cycle linkages taking a back seat.  Worse, several developments visited by the researchers hadn’t even provided footpaths to access them, with no pedestrian, cycle links or public transport links to nearby shops and services.     

Both customers and communities are becoming ever more discerning about the quality of the homes that are being produced, and as an industry, we must respond to that and focus much more on the interests of our customers – not just developers, but planners as well.   At This Land™, we wholeheartedly embrace this approach.   Sustainable accessibility is a key part of our concept of ‘Placecraft ™’, as is the approach to landscaping and setting.   Our mission is to put as much thought into high quality design of the spaces around the homes we build, as in the buildings themselves.  

I heard a phrase recently that I believe perfectly encapsulates the challenge before the UK development industry; and also This Land’s™ ambition for its development portfolio: we should be aiming to create “the Conservation Areas of the future.”  Amen to that!