We are committed to providing homes for people who need them and can’t afford them on the open market. The need to do this remains as pressing as ever, given the changing and challenging economic, social and environmental pressures that the communities we work in continue to face.
We will develop in our core operating areas of Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, along with eastern Oxfordshire, pursuing a range of opportunities, from greenfield to brownfield sites. We’ll also identify redevelopment opportunities within our existing asset portfolio.
Quality and tenure mix
We are committed to building at least 2,250 new homes over the five years from 2021-26. Where we develop homes ourselves, these will normally be developments of up to 150 homes, but the number and type of homes will be dependent on the local market and housing needs. We will also actively pursue partnerships that may deliver more homes across a wider site, such as where a large scheme is available that could form the backbone of our pipeline for many years to come. Our focus will be on 2 and 3-bed homes, preferably houses, that have a good provision of car parking.
Our preferred tenure mix is for 50/50 affordable rent and shared ownership, but we will adapt to market conditions, which means in the short term we may provide more affordable rental homes.
We will continue to reduce the proportion of new homes we procure through S106 planning agreements and undertake more land-led development. This will allow us to better manage the quality of homes we build for our customers and the service we offer them in the longer term. However, it takes time to build up a pipeline of land-led schemes and there are more risks to manage.
We will also collaborate with stakeholders and partners who recognise the importance of working for and with residents and local communities. We will actively build relationships with those who share our vision for providing high-quality, environmentally-sound homes.
We want to create communities where people are proud to live – and that we are proud to have built in the longer term, demonstrating high quality affordable housing development.
We will ensure our design standards at least meet the Future Homes Standard and will investigate the use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) where it increases long term quality, safety and environmental performance.
We will review and enhance our design standards to deliver lower carbon, lower energy homes that minimise their impact on the environment, particularly where we are the developer. Where we have control over design from the earliest stages, we will incorporate features to allow more sustainable and environmentally-friendly living and potentially lower ongoing costs to both the future resident and Paradigm.
We will also offer a high quality of customer care when we are selling homes and during the initial period after moving in. We’ll develop and implement a new satisfaction survey to capture how well we are performing and use the feedback to improve our service. We will continue work to reduce the number of defects and time taken to remedy defects.
We want to make sure the homes we provide offer value for money for our customers in terms of affordability of rent and service charge levels, as well as providing energy efficient properties.
However, there can be tension in seeking to build high quality homes and moving towards the Government’s target of zero-carbon, whilst competing for land, especially in the locations that we operate within. This means that we need to be ever-more diligent and will work in closer collaboration with others, including internal colleagues such as Asset Management, or with local authorities, developers and strategic land investors.
By the end of this Development Strategy period, we will be proud to have provided as many high quality homes and places as possible, for a range of people who would not ordinarily be able to either rent or buy on the ‘open market’.