Our homes and communities

KPIs 2020 2019
Affordable housing completions 1,306 1,189
Planning obligations spend £50.5m £37m

Our approach

We take our social responsibilities very seriously. We create spaces where communities will thrive, provide affordable housing, support Force's personnel and contribute to the economy and charitable causes.

Creating thriving communities

The purpose of the Group is to develop sustainable new homes and communities across all sectors of the UK housing market. Each of our 23 businesses tries to optimise the inherent social value of our principal activity, of providing sustainable new homes and communities, enhancing the physical places where we build and the opportunities for the communities we serve.

We are proud that during 2020 we were able to build 1,306 affordable homes and invest over £50m in community and infrastructure projects as part of our s106 contribution.

Placemaking

Creating sustainable communities for all sectors of the UK housing market is as much about the spaces between our homes as it is about providing high quality housing. Whether we are building a new community on greenfield sites or regenerating existing communities our approach to placemaking is designed to improve people’s quality of life and support our customers health and wellbeing.

Our master planning approach aims to provide a clear hierarchy of public, private, and semi-private spaces that encourage neighbours to interact with each other and build strong communities. Providing our customers with access to high quality amenities that support local economies is a key consideration when selecting and designing our sites and in addition to section 106 and community infrastructure contributions, we work closely with local authorities, community organisations and local businesses to ensure that Vistry communities are great places to live, work and play.

The Vistry Social Value toolkit provides a framework for ensuring that our regeneration projects deliver social cohesion, economic inclusion, health and wellbeing and environmental wellbeing. Using the National Themes Outcomes and Measurements (TOMs) the toolkit provides a framework for our development teams to work with local authorities, our supply chain and local community organisations to create jobs, grow local economies and help communities to live happy and healthy lives. This framework was developed by the Social Value Portal in collaboration with the Cabinet Office and Local Government Authority.

As an example, Vistry Partnerships is working with London Borough of Enfield to deliver a brand new mixeduse, multitenure community at Meridian Water.

This is a first phase of a 10,000 home regeneration project which will create over 900 new homes and 2,235m2 of employment space, alongside green parkland and open space which includes a nature trail to help the Council deliver its vision of Parklife on the Doorstep. We are also building a community garden that will offer the local community and pupils at Meridian Angle primary school the chance to grow their own food. We are working with the Council to design a volunteering programme that will use the community garden for social prescribing initiatives to improve mental and physical health in line with NHS England’s guidelines.

Vistry Partnerships has pioneered Skills Academies on all large site, and the Meridian Water Skills Academy will provide apprenticeship and training opportunities for Enfield residents to access jobs on site and secure careers across construction and built environment professions.

We are passionate about supporting the industry and bridging the skills shortage across the UK. Across our 8 academies, nearly 500 learners have completed our bespoke course, with more than 2,500 community members benefiting from bespoke workshops and work placements. This has resulted in 75 learners gaining full-time employment and 38 into employment via nonconstruction related jobs.

Affordable housing

We are the leading private sector provider of affordable housing creating 1,306 affordable homes during 2020, helping to address the country’s housing supply challenge. We work collaboratively with local authorities and registered providers (RPs) to provide affordable housing across a range of different tenure types. The Government’s Help to Buy Scheme, alongside both our discount schemes for Key Workers and Armed Forces personnel are offered on all our developments. The combination of our Homes and Partnerships businesses offers a unique business model that ensures Vistry delivers more affordable housing than other volume housebuilders. Our Partnerships business is a specialist in delivering mixed-tenure communities that offer affordable housing alongside purpose built to rent homes and our Linden Homes and Bovis Homes brands. From 2021 Partnerships will be working towards building 6,000 homes per annum by 2025 with revenue of £1bn, 60% of which will be delivered through its own mixed-tenure developments. As part of this project we have set a target for 2021 to build more additional affordable homes year-on-year over and above section 106 requirements.

Biodiversity and Green issues

Our approach to development design focusses on the principles of Green Infrastructure (GI) - networks of multifunctional green space which includes parks, open spaces, playing fields, woodlands, street trees, allotments, private gardens, sustainable drainage systems and soils.

This holistic approach supports peoples’ mental and physical health, encourages active travel, improves drainage and improves carbon storage. This year we have been working closely with landscape and ecology consultants to deliver improvements to our GI design and delivery.

Biodiversity is a major consideration of the schemes we deliver at Vistry. We ensure where we can, we retain valued flora and fauna and incorporate it within our developments and we carefully consider new green infrastructure strategies to provide wider net gains for biodiversity. Ahead of a 10% biodiversity net gain being mandated by the emerging Environment Bill, we are seeking to assess and future-proof our schemes in that regard. On relevant schemes we are now contributing towards, and in some instances delivering on-site Strategic Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) to reduce recreational pressure on protected sites.

We are developing relationships with several carefully selected specialist partners, in order to benefit and further their work and to deepen our understanding of the risks and opportunities in our development approach.

We are engaging with The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT), a leading non-governmental organisation in the United Kingdom solely devoted to the conservation of bats and the landscapes on which they rely.

We are exploring how a strategic relationship between our organisations can result in better outcomes for bats and the surrounding communities within which they live and forage, as well in our own staff understanding more about salient planning and environmental issues.

This follows the success of our relationship with the Hedgehog Preservation Society, which saw us mandate the use of Hedgehog Highways on all of our developments to ensure a network of safe routes allowing this endangered mammal to travel between important habitats.

Vistry Partnerships are now business supporters of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT). The aim of this sponsorship is to ensure our sites across the country are helping to support bumblebees and other wildlife with our planting.

Building Standards

The Vistry Group continue to work alongside government and industry to support the policy landscape of the Future Homes Standard and net zero commitments.

Our roadmap has identified the challenges that need to be developed, which we will work through, through research and engagement with all relevant stakeholders. We believe that a collaborated industry led approach, ensures holistic ownership with all delivery partners working together towards a common goal, with our customers right at the heart of our decision making process.

Importantly our approach is not only around energy, but also the wider government commitments in creating a sustainable future.

Case Study: Vistry Group piloting a unique collaboration of Eden Project

We are operating a pilot project with Eden Project (an educational charity exploring how we can work towards a better future) to look at improving open space within our developments.

We are seeking to provide more aesthetically pleasing play areas by replacing multi-use games area with natural more environmentally friendly objects and help establish communal gardening and sensory areas for residents with disabilities.

This will take place at our Redhill development in Telford to deliver natural play areas, nature-focussed green spaces and optimise the land we are building on to help create a regenerative, sustainable and longlasting approach to the environment.

The development sits next door to the Granville County Park, which is managed by the local Wildlife Trust, and part of a green infrastructure corridor in Telford. By enhancing the green spaces at Redhill, we hope to create a better environment for new homeowners and the wider community.

Working in conjunction with Eden Project, we have taken the original landscape design layouts and revisited them with enhanced strategies to put placemaking and nature at the forefront. Rather than focusing the play spaces in a single area we have created a range of different spaces across the whole development including community corners and woodlands and made the most of the existing ponds on site.

Each area of the site will have its own character based on the planting in that area; some of which will attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife. There will be a central community green at the heart of the development with access from all homes and a kick-about area, bike tracks and performance corner.

The multi-use games area is being repositioned to keep an existing hedgerow and ditch to safeguard water flow to one of the existing ponds and will be replaced with a community orchard and hedgerow features to encourage interactive play.

There are two drainage attenuation ponds being built in an area of the development with badger setts and great crested newts; to support this wildlife one pond will be a relatively inaccessible habitat in order to protect these populations, but a wildlife hide is planned from which to view the activity in this area. The second pond will be accessible and planted with wetland plants, shrubs and trees to attract wildlife into the site.

The community corners will be positioned around the development and will be equipped with small children’s play equipment, buggy holders and seating as well as wildflower planting to encourage young and old to use the spaces around them. The community orchard will encourage homeowners engage with their greenspace and each home buyer will be invited to ‘plant their next chapter’ in the newly formed woodland areas, which in turn promotes placemaking and helps support biodiversity net gain.

This pilot project is being delivered by Eden Project’s International Design and Creative Team and the National Wildflower Centre (also based at the Eden Project), which will use nature to encourage imaginative and physical play and foster community connection. The site will aim to use construction site waste in the creations of these new spaces in order to reduce our carbon and ecological footprints.