The Social capital relates to the networks of relationships amongst people and the role of placemaking in the integration of our communities.
Why do we pursue the creation of vibrant communities?
As we look to create vibrant communities, we aim to strengthen the connection between people and the places they share. This encompasses providing public spaces that are accessible and healthy and create a genuine sense of place; fostering strong relationships with residents and local stakeholders; and supporting the services and activities they want and need. As Master Developer, our ability to create self-sustaining communities and to nurture a culture of community citizenship is an indicator of success which we believe is just as important as – and deeply linked to – reducing our environmental footprint.
What is the journey?
To achieve this objective, we have identified three action areas to provide a strategic focus for our efforts and commitments. The early delivery and management of placemaking is our first action area and will gear our efforts towards delivering high-quality development sites, with a particular focus on access to quality green and blue space. Second, community investment, reinforcing our support for communities and working with our contractors to ensure maximum positive impact. Finally, engagement and consultation, focusing on our work with local stakeholders to understand key issues in the communities we are developing so that we can respond accordingly.
One of the ways that sustainable development creates value is by providing high-quality places and spaces where communities can flourish. We believe a key way to do this is to provide sufficient and accessible green spaces early in the development process where people can meet, socialise and exercise.
- All residents living on our sites have a home within 300m linear distance (five minutes’ walk) of a publicly accessible green and blue space which is at least 2 hectares in size.
Although Priors Hall only achieved 90% against the target of 100%, future development zones are being designed to meet this target. Newark, Wintringham and Waterbeach did not have publicly accessible green and blue space that is at least 2 hectares in size in 2020/21 however they are designed to meet this requirement when the space is completed.
Graph showing the percentage of residents living within 300m linear distance (five minutes’ walk) from a publicly accessible green and blue space, of a minimum size 2 hectares.
When it comes to supporting our communities, we believe in working with our contractors to achieve the most positive impact possible. Contractors are a critical part of how we achieve of our sustainability ambitions. Minimising disruption to the local area is one important area of focus, and we are now placing even more emphasis on this through the Considerate Constructors Scheme.
- All contractors employed by Urban&Civic are members of the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) and achieve a minimum score of 39 out of 50, representing “excellent”
In 2020/21, the average CCS score across all developments was 38.3 marginally falling short of the target of 40 points however this is based on increased activity across our portfolio. The target is now 39 out of 50 reflecting changes to the CCS scoring system.
Table showing rolling average and reported CCS site scores for the last four years.
Engagement and consulation
Thinking strategically about how we support and invest in our communities is the best way to achieve the greatest positive impact. Consultative approaches make for a learning experience for all, and for genuine dialogue and listening. Our housebuilder partners are vital to supporting dialogue and action, and we will continue working with them as part of our ongoing consultation activities.
- All sites will have a live post-planning written consultation and engagement strategy informed by local socio-demographics and agreed with key local stakeholders.
In 2020/21, a written consultation and engagement strategy was introduced as a pilot initiative at two Strategic Sites. This will inform the rollout of similar strategies at more sites to meet our target by 2025.
Graph showing the percentage of sites that have a live post-planning written consultation and engagement strategy informed by local socio-demographics and agreed with key local stakeholders
Youth Games in the Amphitheatre
Urban&Civic hosted the event which saw North Northants Council’s Sport and Play Development team lead on the lively outdoor games, while St Mary’s Church and Weldon Rock Solid Youth Club provided volunteers to run the popular craft activities.Read more
Supporting vulnerable people in the community
Creating homes that people can live in throughout their life is very important and the Urban&Civic Waterbeach team has been providing financial support to a local scheme that aims to help older people stay in their homes for longer, accessing help and advice to keep them safe and well.Read more
Urban&Civic has put health and wellbeing at the heart of Wintringham, and the team has worked hard to create something really special; with space for people to enjoy, space for nature to thrive, and space where people and nature can co-exist in harmony.Read more
Urban & Civic in partnership with Sustrans have been organising weekly led walks through Middlebeck, Newark with the aim of encouraging an active lifestyle. Our Community Engagement Officer wanted the walks to be a fun and sociable activity for people who want reap the benefits of exercise.Read more
At 650 occupations, the community of Houlton has grown to a level where there is a strong and active . During the pandemic, where it was discouraged to be in close social contact we devised ways of listening to our community on themes and issues where were upcoming. Digital methods such as online surveys and QR codes enabled residents to engage without physical contact.Read more
Local community discovers Wintringham’s past
Urban&Civic teamed up with Oxford Archaeology East and St Neots Museum to help residents and local communities discover what life would have been like for our ancient ancestors living in the area during the Iron Age and early Roman period.Read more
Listening to Stakeholders – Engagement in Action
Throughout the year, our activities have ranged from holding careers fairs, connecting businesses and schools, site tours and regular updates for the local authorities (allowing for a joined up approach), an open air cinema screening which involved local artists, and seasonal community events, delivered in partnership with local sports projects, youth clubs and social enterprise groups.Read more