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Home > News > Construction Breakfast – June 2017

Construction Breakfast – June 2017

07 June 2017 |

Homes Not Just Houses – Nick Pollock, Head of Planning for the Duchy of Cornwall

This month’s guest speaker was Nick Pollock, the Head of Planning for the Duchy of Cornwall, which encompasses over 130,000 acres of land in 23 counties. The responsibility of those who live and work in this area is felt keenly by Nick and the team that work closely with the Duke of Cornwall, Prince Charles, ensuring that communities are built rather than just edifices.

Today Nick entitled his talk ‘Working Together to Create Better Places’, and focused on the collaborative approaches that had seen fruit through the Duchy of Cornwall’s work at a site in Newquay called Tregunnel Hill. The approach was simple: to ask the local community what makes a place special to them, and then keeping that at the centre. This could explain why nearly 90% of residential purchases made on the site were from local people. These principles are even more evident at the Duchy’s Nansledan development.

“A place needs its own energy and identity.”

By working locally and interacting locally, the construction has kept the investment local and circulating in small businesses – an essential aim of any socially conscious construction, when you consider that 99% of businesses in the UK are SMEs. This approach also reduces shipping costs and carbon emissions, which are two more practical benefits to this purchasing mindset.

“We are all responsible for sustaining the needs of others.”

One of the difficulties of new residential estates is that they do not always consider the lives of the people who will be living with them, which is something the Duchy of Cornwall actively addresses through building a job for every home constructed. The layout of the site is carefully considered too, ensuring that every resident will be within a five or ten minute walk from offices, shops, and schools.

“Building healthy generations for the future means building a legacy.”

The emphasis should always be on thinking long-term thinking, and Nick gave a brilliant example of this when he explained that they situated the area’s allotments to be alongside the kids’ play areas. By encouraging cross-generational engagement in green spaces, the young can learn about healthy eating and growing foods naturally, whilst the older generation continue to be plugged into the community.

“If you’re intentional about something, you can really achieve things.”

Of course, the financial and commercial aspects of this type of construction cannot be ignored, but Nick has definitely given some thought to this. He explained how places that people want to live will inevitably drive up value, and revealed that, as reported in the Prince’s Foundation’s Building a Legacy report, developers were currently enjoying a £10,000 to £20,000 premium per market house on average on their work.

“We need to learn to focus on long term horizons rather than short term gains.”

Nick’s personal interests of working together collaboratively across businesses and institutions to create communities really came across throughout the twenty minute talk, as he described how their approach of focusing on the place rather than the buildings fostered a sense of community that could otherwise have taken years to develop.

After his inspiring talk, Nick took some challenging questions on the balance between residential and commercial properties, the importance of public transport links, and the role of energy efficiency and responsibility within new builds. These was also a discussion on second homes, and the value of trust within a community.

There were over 60 attendees to this month’s event, and all attendees were able to network and gather great contacts for their construction work within Bristol. Gregg Latchams loves interacting with the networks within Bristol, and their legal expertise is an excellent foundation for many. Our next construction breakfast will take place on Tuesday 11 July, with speaker Claire Knight, of Moore Stephen Accountants. Click here to book your place!

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The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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