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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Putting community at the heart of housebuilding


The UK Housing Awards recognise and reward the very best in the UK housing sector. This year’s event will be taking place in May, bringing together more than 1,200 senior housing professionals. Over the next few months, organisations and individuals shortlisted for a UK Housing Award are giving an insight into their work and why they have been nominated. In this blog, Countryside explain what they’ve been up to be nominated to win the homebuilder of the year award.

Track record in the field

For more than 60 years, Countryside has nurtured communities from the ground up. We take an active approach to caring for the places we operate in, ensuring we create places people love.

From Manchester to Chelmsford, London to Redhill, we have played an integral part in people’s lives up and down the country. We are committed to creating diverse, sustainable communities, where people from every walk of life can feel at home. Since inception, we have championed creating sustainable communities rather than just building houses, comprising mixed-tenure housing, great connectivity and amenities – envisioned by our founder, the late Alan Cherry, who was a member of the Urban Task Force.

Regeneration with purpose

Through our Partnerships division, we work with housing associations and local councils across London and the home counties to deliver mixed-use schemes that serve the needs of the local community. For instance, at The Assembly in Hounslow, we spearheaded the construction of one of the UK’s largest primary schools in partnership with Hounslow Council.

We take a collaborative approach to any development, working alongside our stakeholders - housing associations, local authorities, community boards, businesses and, of course, local residents – putting community at the heart of development, from planning to finished project.

For instance, working with residents of Pike Close Estate, Bromley, to ensure they understood our proposed plans for redevelopment. We hosted workshops, consultations and drop-in sessions for residents, demonstrating our commitment to high-quality housing and placemaking. As a result, 82% of residents voted in favour of redevelopment.

Similarly, at Acton Gardens in west London, we worked with focus groups and a dedicated Regeneration Office to ensure that voices from across the community were heard and channelled into the project’s vision. Communicating effectively with local residents and partner organisations is key to ensuring a development unlocks the area’s true potential. We continue to listen to residents as phases progress, as needs and requirements do change. We take feedback very seriously and reflect these in future phases, aware that we are at such schemes for over a decade. This commitment ensures our legacy is preserved.

Adding to the mosaic

We know that people are at the heart of every development, so we are careful to curate events that bring residents together. In this way, we’re able to build more than just houses – we create sustainable places where people want to live in the long run.

At Rochester Riverside, we have hosted numerous events for new buyers, offering them the chance to get to know their neighbours, as well as the people behind their new home. One new resident said: “I loved that we were invited to several events and got to meet the builders working at Rochester Riverside, as well as the neighbours. I’ve already swapped numbers with a few people – it’s great to have a sense of community from day one.”

Similarly, at Greenwich Millennium Village (GMV), we have built a strong community by organising regular events that showcase the character and values of the development. The annual GMV Summer Fayre celebrates music and food and features numerous live performances from local artists, dancers and musicians. Events like these provide a space for residents to mingle, establishing a thriving and diverse community and sense of place.

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