Vibrant communities

Social Capital logo


The Social capital relates to the networks of relationships amongst people and the role of placemaking in the integration of our communities.

Why it matters

We believe communities at home or at work are the building blocks of a lively, interconnected network of services and relationships that enable places to thrive. As Master Developers, our ability to create self-sustaining communities and to nurture a culture of community citizenship is an indicator of success which we believe is as important as reducing our environmental footprint. Our vision for creating vibrant communities begins with the master planning and the embedding of social space within the built form and delivering health and wellbeing opportunities from the outset. This is continued through the building phase by baking in a set of measurable goals that we expect all our contractors to respond to and then validating our effort with those who pick up the baton of the community from the time of occupation.

Action areas

  • Placemaking
  • Engagement and consultation
  • Community investment


One of the ways that sustainable development creates value is by providing high-quality places and spaces where communities can flourish. We can play our role in helping to achieve this by planning and delivering projects in ways that make the most of the combined physical, cultural and social attributes of our sites.

One well-established principle of our approach is to foster a sense of place and belonging by providing sufficient green spaces early in the development process where people can meet, socialise and exercise. The connection between green and blue space and health and wellbeing is strong, which is why we are highlighting it as one of our three universal challenges.


2025 target: 

  • 95% of 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.


All of the five sites that have publicly accessible green and blue space that is at least 2 hectares in size perform well, with Alconbury, Priors Hall, Houlton and Newark meeting the revised 2025 target of 95%. Wintringham is currently close to the target and it is expected that the design of future key phases will meet this target by 2025.

Action Area 1 Placemaking- Green space

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.

Community investment

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. 


2025 target: 

  • All contractors employed by Urban&Civic are members of the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) and achieve a minimum score of 39 out of 45, representing “excellent”


The 2022/23 performance saw an improvement in reported CCS scoring compared to the previous year, with a score of 42.3 compared to 41.5. This currently exceeds the 2025 target score of 39 out of 45. All ten of the projects that were assessed using CCS in 2022/23 exceeded the target score of 39.

  2020/21 2021/22 2022/23
2025 target 40 39 39
Reported 38.3 41.5 42.3
Rolling average 39.5 40.5 40.9

Table showing rolling average and reported CCS site scores for the last three years.

Engagement and consultation

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. 


2025 target: 

  • All sites will have a live post-planning written consultation and engagement strategy informed by local socio-demographics and agreed with key local stakeholders.


As well as the six sites previously assessed in 2021/22, this year saw the inclusion of the Wellcome Genome Campus at Hinxton which had yet to put a final consultation and engagement strategy in place. This gave an average score for the year of 86%. 

Action Area 3 Engagement and consultation

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

Case studies

Putting care at the district heart of the community

Priors Hall Park is the first of our sites to open a luxury 66 bed care home, located next to the district centre with views overlooking the amphitheatre and gulley wildlife site

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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.

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Wealds on the Bus clock up 10,000 trips

The Alconbury Weald team has worked in partnership with the local authority and Huntingdon-based Dews Coaches to launch a new bus service, the AW1. 

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Green skills remain a part of the landscape at Wintringham

Volunteers taking part in Groundwork’s latest Green Team project spent four weeks building, installing and planting pots and planters along Pelham Road and outside the new Urban&Civic office.

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Calling all cycling smoothies

U&C created an opening day to celebrate the opening of the Middlebeck Cycle Hub, filled with food trucks, live music, cycle workshops, bike maintenance, and a caricaturist to offer a festival feel to a momentous occasion.

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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.

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Exploring Wintringham

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.

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Volunteer Day

U&C hosts a corporate volunteering day in the heart of Newark along NCN64 where colleagues from across the business

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Walking groups

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. 

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Community Consultation

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.

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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.

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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.

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Case study Listening to Stakeholders – Engagement in Action  _Banner.jpg

An adventure isn’t worth telling if there aren’t any dragons in it...

The Dragon Boat Race, organised by St Neots Town Council raises money for local charity Shining Stars.

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A motivational support for the Newark Half Marathon

Bringing the community together through health and fitness activity.

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Getting to know your neighbours, past and present, by supporting the Farmland Museum

Urban&Civic’s Waterbeach team recently helped support the Farmland Museum’s exhibition which was on display within Denny Abbey, just north of the Waterbeach development, which formed part of their Autumn programme to bring visitors into the important heritage attraction.

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Community and heritage at the heart of a new place

The strong community and heritage focus at Waterbeach continued in July with the Waterbeach Feast and the reunion of 514 Squadron at the former Barracks and Airfield.

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Sharing sustainability knowledge at Houlton

We couldn't find a round table big enough for all our attendees, but it didn't stop the dynamic discussion on sustainability and planning at Houlton.

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Houlton School Awards

It's the season for iced tea, seasonal fruit snacks, and pina coladas. This week Houlton School found a new purpose for the popular golden pineapple!

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Everybody needs good neighbours

We all know how important good neighbours are in making a place more than just somewhere you live, but a community that you care about.

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A buzzing community event

It was a pleasure to be involved in the fantastic Bee Fayre Celebration at Wootton St Lawrence Church for the first time this year.

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Hands on help for our communities

U&C’s first corporate volunteering month saw over 50 employees getting out into our communities, supporting local projects and learning new skills whilst also giving employees the chance to work with team members from across our sites and business functions.

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An Away Day in In-tents conditions

The 2022 Employee Away Day was the first two day full team event since 2019. 

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It's all about the quality of life

Our journey to ensure our new communities support and drive health and wellbeing can be traced back to early engagement with Sport England on Active Design principles for Alconbury Weald and Houlton; and developed as NHS England reviewed the learnings from Healthy New Town pilots, which we were hungry to draw into future design and activation for our new communities. 

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