By Nigel Palmer
Redrow, South Wales.
Following a recent event at one of its completed communities in the Vale of Glamorgan, MD of Redrow South Wales, Nigel Palmer reflects on the wider contribution development must bring to local communities.
Last month, 17 children from St Nicholas Church in Wales Primary School visited Cae Newydd, our completed development in their village, to see how they had directly left their mark on it for generations to come.
This event, along with the reason one of our newest graduate recruits joined us – because he wants “to be part of creating strong communities in Wales” – started me thinking about something we’re passionate about at Redrow: the positive difference housebuilding can make to local communities.
Cae Newydd is a development of 97 homes, now complete and fully occupied: in fact, it was a junior resident who cut the ribbon on the bespoke artisan stone seating in one of its play areas last week. We had enlisted the help of local artist, David Mackie, to work with the children to develop designs for the seating that reflect the local natural character and historical heritage, including arrowheads, hares and dandelion clocks. Because of the pandemic, only now were they able to come and view the fruits of their work.
The seating not only provides a great place for people to meet but also an enduring piece of public art that is not just beautiful but also locally resonant. In other words, we have – quite rightly – taken at least as much care with this installation as with the beautiful homes at Cae Newydd, where we replaced our standard elevations and roof tiles to reflect local traditional materials.
And that’s not the only way housebuilding makes a positive contribution – there is also the Section 106 agreement linked to every housebuilder’s planning permissions, where community contributions are legally laid out.
As part of ours with the Vale of Glamorgan Council, we designed and built Cae Newydd’s 35 affordable homes, then made available specifically to local people for both rent and low-cost home ownership. We created these ourselves, again as bespoke homes, varying our standard designs to reflect the local area and integrate with the designs of the homes for sale on the open market. We believe this approach doesn’t just make for a much more aesthetically pleasing development but also paves the way for a more integrated community.
The agreement also saw Cae Newydd contribute over £1.3 million to the local authority to be invested in affordable housing elsewhere in the Vale, local primary and secondary schools, improving local community facilities and in sustainable transport.
As a housebuilder, it is not just required but also quite right that we contribute to local communities wherever we create developments as part of the planning consent. At Redrow, we take that contribution seriously, and not just as a cost of development. We also believe in embracing the wider role we have to play and want to leave a lasting legacy, which is why one of our three core values is creating thriving communities – and not solely those we build ourselves.
Find out more about where Redrow is currently developing in south Wales here.