Building communities is child's play for residents

Residents got to grips with how hard it is to build new homes – with the help of some Lego blocks.

Building an estate with the plastic bricks was one of the activities delegates at the South West Residents’ Development Conference took part in.

Participants had to build an estate with the blocks, making sure they got the highest land value at the same time as ensuring it was sensitively designed and met planning rules.

The Can you be a developer? activity was the highlight of this year’s conference, which was held at our Plumer House headquarters and attended by PCH tenants as well as residents and staff from other housing associations across the South West.

The conference is a chance for residents to give their feedback on the design and layout of new homes and hear what housing associations are up to.

Andrew Lawrie, PCH’s Head of Development, presented feedback from surveys which showed the top three things that people value most when moving into a new home – feeling safe, the size and the layout.

Westward Housing’s Woodgate scheme in Liskeard, built by Eliot Design and Build – was named the scheme with the highest resident satisfaction.

John Skivington from LHC talked about offsite manufacturing – previously called pre-fab homes – and explained that more modern versions are making a comeback.

Kate Doodson, of Cosmic, a firm which helps businesses understand the benefits of digital innovations, talked about artificial intelligence, chatbots and smart technology, saying they have the power to revolutionise the way we live in our homes.

PCH Board Member Debbie Roche, who chaired the conference, spoke of the importance of the yearly event. She said: “We’ve seen from the stats there’s been great input into resident design. What one person’s perception is may not be the same as a developer’s. We’re really lucky we’ve had that input. And I think everyone really got into playing with the Lego!”

Magna Housing tenant Frank Haverson travelled from Weymouth to attend the conference.

He said: “The offsite construction talk interested me. I was in the electronics industry. I helped build cars for Honda in Swindon. I’d like to see where these off-site homes are built. It’s good to meet up with other people. I’m interested in homes being more environmentally friendly.”