24/06/2021

Residential development

The Meridian BTR Plaza

Delivering world class property and inclusive communities in the Sheffield City Region and beyond

Residential development companies across the UK are increasingly focused on creating schemes that will deliver more sustainable, inclusive and healthy outcomes for current and future residents. Lindsay McCombe, our Senior Development Director, spoke recently at the Built Environment Networking’s (BEN) Sheffield City Region Economic Growth and Development Conference alongside senior leaders from Great Places Housing, Doncaster Council and Fortwell Capital. He writes on how world class residential developments can satisfy housing requirements as well as build inclusive communities.

When people think of leading residential development, most immediately point to the design of a building. However, to be truly world class, development must go far beyond the external facade and consider many other aspects that define world beating performance. Besides, very often, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

At Godwin Developments we shape all schemes not just with aesthetics in mind, but also for a wider positive impact in order to deliver opportunities for shared prosperity. Our main considerations usually cover four areas – spaces and amenities, community links, sustainability and quality, and proximity to everywhere important – all of which shape desirable and prosperous neighbourhoods, benefitting residents, investors, local authorities, visitors and others. Recent residential developments – among others – that exemplify this approach are our flagship urban BTR scheme, The Meridian, situated in Sheffield city centre, and Woodland Rise, a single family housing project with full planning consent in Doncaster.

One of the key differentiators of leading residential projects – whether urban build-to-rent (BTR) or suburban homes – that invariably attracts residents of all ages is the provision of desirable facilities and shared spaces. The latest data from the 2021 HomeViews tenant survey clearly indicates that developments which focus on amenities – such as gyms, lounges and concierge receptions – are the most highly rated. Moreover, in their research, leading property consultants Knight Frank found a high correlation between facility provision and overall levels of satisfaction – e.g. 26% of graduates or young professionals under 25 considered paying a premium for added perks such as communal areas with state of the art technology. This is the reason why many of our projects – and The Meridian is no exception – come with a large allocation of space that can cater flexibly to the changing requirements of residents.

It is also no wonder – particularly in light of the pandemic – that outdoor space has become so highly prized by many. Whether that be a private garden or a balcony, a landscaped roof terrace, an attractive shared community area, or a location that allows easy access to existing parks and nature trails, a link to the natural environment is a key consideration for each of our schemes. What is more, we have a deliberate strategy for curating and enhancing green and outdoor amenities because of the long-lasting positive effects on the health and well-being of people.

In both city centre and suburban developments, shared outdoor spaces support the proactive management of schemes which encourages inclusive and supportive communities. In the case of BTR, it not only provides a smooth transition through the various life stages from education into adulthood and beyond, but also ensures the best possible lifestyle choices for individuals seeking quality and service. With a strong offering of on-site facilities and resident centred events, a ready-made community is there for all to enjoy and contribute to – boosting well-being and combating loneliness for some. Single family housing schemes which usually benefit from private and shared green spaces, also create numerous opportunities for community creation, which often determines the success of a development, defining occupancy rates and commercially viable rental levels.

Looking beyond the boundaries of a scheme, it is hugely important to consider how residents at a new development can fit in and forge links with an existing town and city so there is no risk of an ‘island development’. Being close to everywhere important supports lifestyles and often means that residents are more likely to stay for the longer term, encouraging people to put down roots – building not only viable investment propositions but also strong self-sustaining communities. This is why the location for our developments, both urban and suburban, are carefully chosen to provide good quality homes where people want to live – close to transport networks, shops and schools, doctors’ surgeries and retail parks, eating out and entertainment facilities. For example, we have considered all modes of transport for our urban BTR scheme in Sheffield, including train, road, tram, walking and cycling, and ensured future residents of our single family Woodland Rise development have easy access to their preferred form of travel.

Finally, sustainability in all aspects of a development is crucial in assuring it is future proofed for generations to come. This starts from the ground up in the initial designs which must consider the efficiency and quality of the building in order to deliver environmentally responsible building stock. New developments are already subject to increasing energy efficiency standards but actively addressing the move towards net zero helps to make sure all schemes are aligned with consumer, investor and legislative demands. With main grid energy sources becoming increasingly low carbon and the government’s move to ban uses of gas for heating, electricity is the obvious and most sustainable choice for residential developments which naturally decarbonises buildings over time. A high EPC is important not only for residents who want to manage their bills and environmental impact, but also for investors with ever more ambitious ESG targets and the ability to manage a viable long-term asset. That is why our urban BTR scheme – The Meridian – represents an exemplar approach for low energy design principles. It minimises the requirements for energy through building form and orientation, deploying a high performance thermal envelope design which delivers a high energy efficiency including heat recovery.

Sustainability, of course,  stretches beyond lighting, heating and cooling – with all Godwin Developments projects also considering the provision of natural light, how residents move around the location in a sustainable fashion, including cycle storage spaces and electric vehicle charging, bio diversity through planting and natural materials, and many more.

Residential property development needs to address the obvious need for more good quality housing in the places where people want to live – but also incorporate a provision for the changing lifestyles and growing sustainability aspirations of residents, owners, investors and asset managers.

If you are an institutional investor seeking more information about our Sheffield City Region schemes, the Meridian and Woodland Rise, please follow the links below to find out more about both development, or contact us at hello@godwindevelopments.co.uk or call 0121 516 9508.

The Meridian, Sheffield
Woodland Rise, Doncaster