Building a better future
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I’m not a fan of terms like ‘estate regeneration’ and ‘improved urban environments’ – they feel very cold and probably mean nothing to most people who are not involved in construction. There are no feelings attached to these kinds of phrases - and this couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to our approach to developing and building homes for our customers. I see the houses we build and manage not simply as a pieces of construction, but as homes that should provide a solid base for our customers to build their futures on.
David Cameron has said that he thinks that some of Britain’s older housing estates are ‘entrenching poverty in Britain – isolating and entrapping many of our families and communities.’
This statement from the Prime Minister highlights the problems we face with some of the older properties that our customers live in at the moment. Families are not always living in poverty and are not always isolated but I definitely feel that we, as a social landlord, can do more to help everyone achieve their goals in life. Building more safe, secure, energy efficient homes is something that we should be doing – but sometimes the only way we can do this is to knock down the existing homes and start again.
Believe me, we really don’t want to knock homes down – when we announce a ‘regeneration’ project we’re faced with a number of challenges. As I said earlier, regeneration sounds emotionless – to builders it’s a process but we have to remember that the house to be ‘regenerated’ is someone’s home – and in many cases the families affected have lived there for years.
I’m sure that if someone said to you that your home was to be knocked down and rebuilt your initial reaction wouldn’t be: ‘Whoopee – bring in the bulldozers.’ It would probably be more along the lines of: ‘I don’t want to move. This is my home, you can’t do that. Where am I going to live? Why are you doing this?’
Our decisions are not taken lightly but by working with our teams within Bromford we can gather information directly from our customers to give us a better understanding of what they need and expect from their home. We have a vision to provide the right homes for people to use as a foundation for their lives so when we identify homes that are no longer fit for that purpose, we have an obligation and desire to do something about it.
By building new houses we can offer our customers high quality, low maintenance, warm, dry, energy efficient homes. Our newly built homes are typically a third cheaper to heat and power than the old inefficient ones we have replaced. This means that the families who live there will have more money to spend on other things rather than heating and energy – something I’m sure we’d all like.
Our vision to provide the right homes for our customers should not only put money in their pockets but will also lead to improved health. Compare living in a property that is difficult to keep dry and warm to living in a brand new energy efficient home and you can see the obvious health benefits; and when we combine the financial and health benefits this can only mean an improvement in our customers’ overall wellbeing – and a better future for the whole family.
Our development and construction programmes are led by what our customers want and because our plans are not governed by new grant we are able to listen to our customers and design and build what they need.
There are many challenges when redeveloping homes but I think that by continuing to build the right homes in the right areas the social, personal and financial rewards for the whole community outweigh any initial worries and concerns. Bromford is a major provider of social housing in the areas in which we work – in some cases we’re the only provider so the responsible, and the right, thing to do is to try and create safe, secure and efficient homes that allow the whole community to flourish for years to come.