A good development is one which invests in the community, as well as the housing scheme itself. People need somewhere to live, but they also need to feel a sense of belonging. In essence, the place we call home should offer more than a place to rest our heads at night.
Providing the correct infrastructure as part of a new development not only lays foundations for the occupants’ social wellbeing, it is crucial to a scheme achieving the ultimate goal of every modern housing scheme – sustainability. Build it well and they shall come and by they, I mean investors. With investment comes business and job opportunities, and the germination of a thriving community. Because make no mistake; regeneration is as much to do with reviving an area’s spirit, as it is its aesthetics. This is particularly pertinent to the Ordnance Yard development, which has been carried out by Elite Homes in order to regenerate a long-overlooked area of Gosport, Hampshire. In conjunction with the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust and John Pardey Architects, we have delivered a stunning, nine-home waterside development that will not only bring new life and purpose to a disused naval fortress, its rejuvenation is a first step to the wider regeneration of Priddy’s Hard – the former MoD Ordnance Depot MOD which surrounds it.
Phase One of ‘Priddy’s’ £11 million regeneration has already been approved by Gosport Borough Council. The local authority has been particularly supportive of the scheme, as it recognises Elite Homes’ long-term ambition for the site – to transform the derelict dockyard into one of the most desirable residential and tourist hubs on the south coast.
As well as creating 30 homes, the development’s first phase includes plans for an armed forces museum and an alcohol distillery, which it’s anticipated will create 30 jobs. These proposals send the message to future Priddy’s Hard residents and the wider community that as a developer, ‘we’re in this for the long-term’. We’re intent on creating a legacy; an exemplar of how historical sites can be restored and their heritage revived for modern purpose and decades to come.
I expect many of us can quickly call to mind an example of a poorly-planned housing scheme where a dense population of homes exist in not-so blissful isolation, devoid of any reasonable social infrastructure or sense of community. Some of the less-desirable projects were built post-war, as local authorities moved communities en masse to out-of-town districts or estates in order to demolish and reconstruct the housing developments they were forced to leave behind. Whilst the new houses afforded relocated residents novel ‘luxuries’ such as inside toilets, amenities on the outside were scarce. By neglecting to install any of the social accoutrements many took for granted such as pubs, cafes, community centres and the like, the town planners tasked with implementing the new developments failed the communities who inherited them.
Thankfully, lessons from the past are being learnt. It is now widely accepted that bricks and mortar, although crucial materials for the building of modern housing developments, cannot help foster the one thing these schemes need to survive and thrive: community spirit. For this to happen, we need more developers with imagination and long-term vision. This duty of care should continue long after residents of new schemes have taken-up occupancy.