Environmental, social and economic sustainability is at the heart of the management agenda for the Larkfleet Group of Companies.
We aim to develop an economically sustainable business, support local communities, invest in education both inside and outside our business, and build the highest standards of environmental protection into our products and business practices.
We are investing in the future by supporting local schools and colleges. We are a signatory to the Home Builders Federation Home Building Skills Pledge which commits companies to working together and with subcontractors to recruit and train more people to the highest industry-agreed standards.
By investing in the training of our own staff, and by being inclusive and diverse in our recruitment, we will be able to future-proof our workforce to continue to deliver high quality new homes. We can then improve the economic, social and environmental sustainability of our business and the local communities in which it operates.
Greater Peterborough University Technical College
Larkfleet is one of three employer sponsors of the new Greater Peterborough University Technical College (GPUTC). We provide support and expertise to help deliver a new style of technical and business education which blends academic and practical learning. Larkfleet was involved at the very inception of the educational facility and Larkfleet CEO, Karl Hick, sits on the school’s board of governors.
GPUTC is based in a £12 million state-of-the-art building and focuses on engineering and the built environment. It aims to educate the city’s future engineers, designers, architects and construction specialists. Its mission is to equip students with the technical skills and practical work experience needed for their chosen careers.
Combining academic study, vocational training and practical work experience, GPUTC delivers education based on ‘learning by doing’. It guarantees all its graduates a job interview with one or more of its industry sponsors at the end of their time at the school.
The course also fosters high levels of attendance, punctuality and professional conduct which translate into good working practices when the graduates start full time employment.
To assist with students’ learning, we have given GPUTC a scale model of a typical timber-framed house built by Larkfleet Homes which can be taken apart and re-assembled using Larkfleet drawings. The model helps students understand how a modern house is put together as well as getting to grips with topics such as architectural design and planning.
Larkfleet working with schools and colleges
The model house has proved to be such a success at GPUTC that a similar one has now been produced for New College Stamford – one of several other colleges with which Larkfleet has developed a relationship.
We are also working with younger children through school engagement. For example, we hosted a visit for year five and six pupils from Cottesmore Millfield Academy at our building site in Oakham, where the children interviewed staff about careers in the construction industry.
We support the training and development of our staff not just with the essential skills required on site but in the professional disciplines needed in a modern construction business such as accountancy and architecture.
Contribution to the local economy
The Larkfleet Group of Companies invests heavily in the communities in which it operates, either by engaging the local supply chain or employing local people to work at our offices or on our construction sites.
Wherever possible we support other local businesses by employing local consultants, contractors and sub-contractors. In total, the group is building more than 400 homes every year, with each new home contributing towards an estimated 3.4 jobs – keeping a total of more than 1,400 people in employment.
We contribute to public services such as health, education and welfare through substantial payments of Corporation Tax, VAT, Fuel Duty, Vehicle Excise Duty, employer’s National Insurance contributions, business rates and other local and national taxes.
In addition, we make direct payments to local authorities for infrastructure and other facilities through ‘Section 106 contributions’ and the ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’ associated with our housing developments.
Each new home built generates additional Council Tax every year and also provides a one-off boost for local authority finances through the New Homes Bonus paid by central government.
On behalf of our employees, we hand over additional money in Income Tax and National Insurance. Buyers of our new-built homes contribute to public expenditure through payment of Stamp Duty.
We actively support business organisations across our area of operation, playing a role in everything from chambers of commerce to the Confederation of British Industry. We are sponsors of a number of local business awards, championing the development of small and medium sized enterprises.
The Larkfleet Group of Companies is committed to creating communities that are as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.
Solar panels are fitted as standard on many of our new homes. As a result, hundreds of thousands of kilowatt-hours of free energy is produced every year for our home buyers, cutting their power bills and reducing global warming by eliminating CO2 emissions.
Each year we plant hundreds of trees and shrubs on new housing developments and create new open spaces, playgrounds and similar facilities.
Affordable and retirement housing
As well as our private-sale homes, The Larkfleet Group of Companies builds affordable housing for rent and for shared equity schemes which help people get a foot on the housing ladder.
Many of the houses we sell on the open market are financed through the government’s Help to Buy scheme which allows more people to access mortgages by helping with the deposit. A large number of our purchasers are first time buyers, so each year we help many local people move into their first home.
We have recently established Swift Homes, a registered provider of affordable housing. Housing associations are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain the funds they need to buy and maintain new homes so Swift Homes has created a solution by using private sector funding to take on this role. Larkfleet properties which have been allocated as social housing will be managed by Swift; finding tenants, collecting rents and maintaining the properties.
At the other end of the housing market we are developing a number of sites for the over-55s in new age-exclusive developments. Research demonstrates that retirement communities such as these provide numerous economic, health and social benefits for residents.