The second episode of the BBC2 programme ‘the new builds are coming: Battle in the Countryside’ offered some interesting insights into those working to help deliver the Government’s target of 300,000 new homes every year, and the people that choose to live in them.
As pointed out, things do change, and we all know deep down people fear change.
We are creatures of habit and routine, and change is confusing, where possible keep things familiar. Connectivity is key with cycleways and pedestrian footpaths linking old and new, along with good quality landscaping to soften street layouts and encourage wildlife to thrive. Public facilities such as medical centres, schools and public play spaces must be easily accessible.
Often those affected, have been in their own homes so long they forget all estates were at some point new. Highlighted in the programme by a resident who moved into his new house overlooking a field in 1974, and is against proposed new homes at the rear of his garden.
These new homes are often populated by first time buyers and young families, who are the key to revitalising rural Britain’s villages. Many small villages struggle to fill primary schools, keep local pubs busy and produce enough custom for shops and services to remain open and stave off the very real threat of closure.
Of course not everyone is happy, with some residents bemoaning the lack of soul and community facilities. People are more mobile and no longer stay in their home for 40 plus years, so interaction with our neighbours has changed along with the traditional ideal of a community. A community doesn’t magically happen overnight and building homes and new facilities does take time.
We can create the foundations for easing the housing crisis by delivering new homes, but these developments must be designed as places that people want to live and thrive in, not just for the short term, but for generations to come.