Building sustainable communities is a key area of focus for UK government, planners and local authorities. Sustainable communities play a major role both in reducing the negative effects and increasing the positive impacts of housebuilding. We recognise the importance of sustainable development and hope that this report demonstrates our proactive approach to tackling this crucial issue.
The way that we build our communities can help to:
We strive to work closely with landowners, planners, local authorities, local communities, NGOs and other organisations to improve our understanding of and performance on these issues. We focus on trying to find practical and affordable ways to integrate sustainability features into our developments.
In 2006, we donated a total of £469,661 to charity in the UK and US.
Community consultation is of paramount importance when addressing sustainability. The Campbell Park case study gives an example of the approach that we take and the issues we discuss with local communities.
We have a strong track record for fundraising and charitable involvement within the communities in which we operate. We focus on causes linked to our business (such as those concerned with housing and homelessness), the communities in which we operate, our business partners and our employees. In addition, George Wimpey UK runs a National Charity Scheme for specific charities that are nominated by employees. In 2006, we donated a total of £469,661 to charity in the UK and US. From 2007, we will measure 'in kind' as well as financial contributions to charitable initiatives.
We will build our first 212 homes under the English Partnerships First Time Buyers' Initiative and increase the number of our G2 affordable homes for key workers and first time buyers.
In 2006, we launched G2, a new brand that focuses on providing key workers and first time buyers with affordable, high quality homes for less than £100,000. None of these homes require external grant funding and restrictions on the apartments' leases ensure that properties are bought by residents rather than investors. We keep costs low with highly efficient use of land and Modern Methods of Construction. In 2006, our first development of 60 apartments in Grantham sold out within six hours. Student nurse Sophie Cooper and her partner Colin Howe, an electrician, bought one of the apartments. They have been living with parents to save up for a deposit on a home. They are both "really excited and looking forward to moving in". We expect G2 to be extremely successful and have plans to build a significant number of these homes each year.
APARTMENTS SOLD OUT IN 6 HOURS IN GRANTHAM
During 2006 the Housing Corporation agreed terms with George Wimpey on the largest funding award for a UK housebuilder to date. The award of an initial £31.73 million will provide 958 much needed affordable new homes across nine sites in the South East of England.
We are also committed to supporting the English Partnerships First Time Buyers' Initiative. We will be providing homes under this initiative in Bracknell, Birmingham, Redhill, Swindon and other locations.
In the UK planning obligations, known as Section 106 agreements, are entered into with local planning authorities, and provide a wide range of infrastructure and services to local communities. We contributed £24.4 million via Section 106 agreements during 2006. These agreements are described in Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Examples of our Section 106 contributions in 2006 include road improvements, public transport contributions, new footpaths and cycleways, educational and healthcare provision, public art commissions and planting trees to form part of the National Forest.
In 2007 George Wimpey is scheduled to start work on the site of the former Henbury High School in Macclesfield. The Section 106 agreement for this site includes part financing the construction of the Macclesfield Learning Zone; a state-of-the-art educational facility including a sixth form college, secondary school, special needs school, sports facilities and an aeronautical centre of excellence. The agreement also includes the provision of a new 13 acre park. The park will have landscaped parklands as well as a play area, courts for basketball, five-a-side football and junior football pitches, footpaths and cycleway links. There will also be a new pavilion with changing rooms, a community room and a kitchen. In addition, the Section 106 agreement is funding improvements to the local highway network.
CONTRIBUTED VIA SECTION 106 AGREEMENTS DURING 2006
Westoe Crown Village provides a further example of community enhancement. The Section 106 agreement included the provision of a community centre and state-of-the-art primary school (pictured).
The size and range of these contributions highlights the value that housebuilders add to local communities.
We have a Construction Code of Practice, and our UK and US companies strive to be good neighbours throughout the construction process and beyond. In addition, we encourage our UK companies to apply for Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) accreditation on large or complex sites. In 2006, we received accreditation for 1,107 homes.
STUDENTS ENROLLED IN FBA INITIATIVE DURING 2006
Our Tampa and Sarasota Divisions each sponsor a chapter of the Future Builders of America (FBA). As part of this initiative, we help to teach students about our industry and encourage them to consider a career in housebuilding. The Simmons Career Center, where the Tampa chapter is based, named Morrison Homes Business Partner of the Year for our FBA involvement. We visit the school every month to provide presentations on career opportunities and cover a syllabus on the technical aspects of housebuilding. We organise field trips, bring trade partners in to work alongside the students and build a playhouse project to give students practical experience. Students are also invited to attend a one week summer camp. In 2006 25 students were enrolled in the initiative and two students who graduated in 2005 now work as electricians. Our Sarasota Division also sponsored two student interns during 2006. The interns will now attend college before pursuing a career in housebuilding. Both have expressed an interest in working for Morrison Homes in the future.
As part of our community safety and awareness practices, we often provide safety talks for school children or invite them to visit our sites and learn about housebuilding. Sixty pupils from North Baddesley School spent an afternoon at our Knight's Grove development in Southampton in 2006. We helped them to research a school project that looked at different jobs and what they entail. Children from Parkside Special School visited the Central Grange development at Kenton Bar to see homes under construction and showhomes. Lloyd Green of George Wimpey West Midlands spoke to school children in Inkberrow about site safety and awareness regarding our nearby Barley Meadows site.
A number of our US Divisions are involved with Habitat for Humanity, a charity that builds homes for low-income families. In June 2006, everyone in our Jacksonville office and construction team spent a day in a run-down part of Jacksonville, helping to construct homes for low-income families. The day was spent working alongside the future homeowners, volunteers and teams from other local businesses. Our Denver Division replaced all the old and poorly insulated windows in one home and built a fence around the back garden of another to keep children safe. Morrison Homes' Tampa Division also gets involved in Paint Your Heart Out Tampa to paint the houses of low-income and elderly members of the community. We received a Silver Sponsor Award for our charitable support of this initiative in 2006.
A team of volunteers from the Sacramento Division of Morrison Homes built a playhouse in the shape of a giant pineapple to support the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Placer County. Trade partners and members of the team's families helped to design and build the playhouse, which was a realistic version of the home of a popular children's television character. The finished playhouse was donated to a child abuse prevention agency safe house that provides transitional housing.
George Wimpey is one of two housebuilders involved with the Campaign for More and Better Homes. Set up in 2004 to help tackle the UK's housing crisis, the group consists of business, social, design and planning supporters including Shelter, CABE and the Town and Country Planning Association. It is concerned with the issues of housing need, demand and delivery as well as building in a socially, environmentally and economically viable way that delivers well-designed, sustainable communities.
We build homes in a wide range of different styles from those using traditional materials and techniques to innovative and award winning modern buildings. We strive to continually improve the design quality of our homes and work with highly acclaimed architects and designers such as Lord Rogers, Sir Richard MacCormac at MJP Architects and Wayne Hemingway. We also seek to engage with and learn from other experts such as CABE (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment), which advises the UK Government on architecture and urban design. In April and November 2006 CABE led workshops to explore and debate issues of good design practice with us. These workshops were attended by our UK management team, which includes our Managing Director, Finance Director and Divisional Managing Directors.
We also launched a new preferred house type range during 2006. We took health and safety, environmental, customer care, procurement and other issues into account at the design stage of all the homes in our new range.
During 2006 and 2007 our UK companies will be raising money for two charities nominated by our employees. These are Macmillan Cancer Support and the Children's Heart Federation. All of our companies have a charity co-ordinator to manage regional fundraising and we also organise an ever popular national five-a-side football tournament. We raised £250,000 for Breast Cancer Care and CLIMB in 2005/6 and have set ourselves a target of £350,000 for our 2006/7 charities. Fundraising got off to a good start when the football tournament raised £45,000.
RAISED FOR EMPLOYEE CHARITIES IN 2005/6