14 Jun 2019
Our mission as a housebuilder is to deliver social value to communities
Legal & General Homes is a housebuilder owned by Legal & General Capital. Our mission is to create beautiful, vibrant, sustainable communities where people can thrive. We’re passionately committed to building high-quality homes for people across a range of life stages and providing first-class customer service throughout the buying process to ensure that it is as stress-free as possible. We’re proud to be the first housebuilder to embed the principle of social value into our business as part of our commitment to making a positive contribution to our local communities.
At our first site – Buckler’s Park in Crowthorne, Berkshire – we worked with Social Value Portal to develop and sign the UK’s first Social Value Charter, which calculates how much value the development produces to the benefit of local people.
The first homes at Buckler’s Park opened in January 2018 and we have now delivered more than £4.2m of social value for Crowthorne.
Andrew Hunter, Director of Place, Planning and Regeneration, Bracknell Forest Council said:
“The creation of self-reliant communities that support the wider borough, its residents and its businesses is a major priority for the council. Legal & General’s investment in Crowthorne at Buckler’s Park forms more than just homes.”
The Buckler’s Park development will house:
- 1,000 new homes
- A 100-acre country park, returning disused land to public use
- An expanded Crowthorne CofE Primary School, creating much-needed school places
- A care home to bring families closer together and meet local need
- New shops complementing the high street
- New pedestrian and cycle routes and highway improvements
Our team started creating social, physical, economic and environmental benefits for Crowthorne well before residents arrived in September 2018 through our work with the Social Value Portal. We consulted with businesses, faith groups, traders and parish councils and surveyed 430 plus residents to understand Crowthorne’s needs, priorities, challenges and opportunities. The resulting charter allowed us to channel our efforts into what matters most to residents – from traffic and public transport to employment and the high street.
Feedback from satisfied residents
In a recent Legal & General Homes’ NHBC New Homes Survey, 100% of residents asked were very satisfied with:
- the quality of their home
- the internal design and external layout
- the standard of finish
Ken and Tracy, first Buckler’s Park residents and Crowthorne locals said:
“Our friends have been really impressed by the quality and design of our new home; it doesn’t fit with their perception of new-build developments at all. For us, part of the attraction was that the layout and the variety of homes together with the green spaces gives a real feel of community. We walk our dog in the country park every day and enjoy meeting people there and telling them about our experience of living in Buckler’s Park. We are looking forward to seeing the place develop.”
A sustainable approach
Environmental issues are increasingly important to the public, and the Crowthorne community is particularly concerned about local impact. Before work began, over half of residents questioned wanted Buckler’s Park to be sustainable and nearly 70% were already worried about pollution and congestion levels.
We have reflected these concerns in its delivery of Buckler’s Park, and sustainability and the environment are central to its approach – before, during and after construction. To date:
- 410,000m3 of material which would usually be transported off site as waste has been recycled in the construction of roads, footpaths, cycle ways and parking areas
- This has saved 27,000 HGV movements, equating to 30 tonnes of CO2 emissions
- It has reduced the number of big trucks on local roads, one of the top three concerns raised by residents
It doesn’t stop when construction ends. Homes have been designed with future generations and our planet in mind:
- Each property has high levels of insulation and multiple heating zones, making it easier to manage energy use
- Hive electronic thermostats and low-energy appliances are included as standard, reducing energy waste
Preserving and enhancing local biodiversity
The leafy Berkshire countryside will provide a vibrant backdrop to life at Buckler’s Park and will be one of the main attractions for buyers. Like more than two-thirds of Crowthorne residents, Legal & General Homes believes it should be preserved.
The development has been built with health and wellbeing in mind. Previously inaccessible to the public, Buckler’s Forest includes 20,000 new trees and, combined with community gardens and allotments will enhance biodiversity, supporting native flora and fauna.
It is a new place for walks and outdoor activities that will relieve the pressure on the popular trails in nearby Swinley Forest. New play areas and sports facilities like tennis courts respond to local demand for more child-friendly outdoor spaces.
Benefitting the local community
The development of Buckler’s Park supports our belief in diversity and inclusion and looking after our local communities.
99 people hired at Buckler’s Park live locally, including those who may struggle for employment elsewhere:
- Six young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs)
- Two long-term unemployed
- One rehabilitating offender
The Big Red Bus initiative
The Big Red Bus was funded by a £3,000+ donation from Legal & General Homes. From building and painting the bookshelves and storage to providing the bus with lighting and internet connections, our team were kept busy creating the space; paving slabs decorated by the pupils themselves added the final touch before the unveiling.
Students and staff at Oaklands Junior School have been celebrating the opening of the Big Red Bus, their new learning and chill-out zone which has been created with support from the Social Value Portal, the Legal & General Homes team and our sub-contractors, Buxted Construction, RB Group and DJ Mace & Sons.
More than just a cup of tea
In April 2019, the team at Legal & General Homes visited the Bracknell Courthouse this month to deliver a cheque for £1,000 to local charity Involve Community.
Involve Community helps other charities and voluntary, community, and faith groups in the Bracknell Forest and Wokingham area with training, advice, and organisational support. Its team links potential volunteers to organisations such as St John’s Ambulance and Amnesty International, while its Community Navigation Scheme connects people with activities they are likely to enjoy in the local area.
The donation will go towards their ‘more than just a cup of tea’ initiative, a befriending scheme for isolated elderly people which provides social contact and a sense of belonging. Currently, there are over 100 volunteers visiting elderly people in the community every week.
Supporting our communities through donations
- In 2018, Crowthorne received an extra dose of festive cheer thanks to a new set of Christmas lights. The decorations will line the main shopping street and adjoining roads and have been organised by Legal & General Homes in partnership with The Crowthorne Traders Association. Legal & General Homes identifed a need for new Christmas lights in the village centre; it partnered with the Crowthorne Traders Association and donated £7,912 for decorations to be enjoyed by residents for many years.
- Employees have spent 249.5 hours volunteering in Crowthorne on initiatives like litter picks and much-needed refurbishments at Edgbarrow School.
- L&G Homes supports charities like Berkshire Women’s Aid and Crowthorne Food Bank, ranging from monetary donations to long-life milk and advent calendars.
Neville Campling, Royal British Legion Crowthorne, awarded a £1,000 donation in 2018 said: “We’re completely reliant on donations to make upgrades and improvements to the branch. Having local champions like Legal & General Homes behind us makes all the difference.”