Developments like this succeed when they are part of a masterplan that considers the wider picture, and when the local community support the vision. It is also crucial to have the right technical team in place to ensure delivery.
The surroundings of a building are just as important as the building itself
A building’s value is enhanced (or reduced) by the quality of its surroundings. So, a masterplan with a vision for a balanced community and a sense of place, in which people choose to live, work, and spend leisure time in, makes all the buildings within it more valuable. A commercial building fronting a vibrant public square has added value and offers its workers an enhanced quality of life, and a housing development is worth more to families if it is part of a masterplan that provides access to nurseries, schools, and a range of facilities within walking distance. People also value green space and the effect it has on their wellbeing, so this too increases the value of surrounding buildings.
A properly considered masterplan will enhance the setting of individual sites, stitch back together damaged areas of a town, and maximise pedestrian access to a range of services.
The Union Mill development in Wolverhampton, for which we’ve just secured planning permission for our client Place First, is another good example. The scheme will transform an area of contaminated land into a vibrant Canalside Quarter. New buildings in the scheme draw design inspiration from the area’s industrial heritage and the layout will provide better pedestrian access to the canal network and the city’s railway station. Derelict listed buildings are to be converted for residential use, bringing life and activity to the heart of Wolverhampton. The development provides a mix of homes for people at different life-stages, and may appeal to civil servants relocating from London with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Could we see more of this sort of redevelopment where refurbished buildings and revitalised public spaces transform areas that attract people back into our towns and cities? Increasingly, we are seeing pension funds and investors – driven by environmental, social and corporate governance – invest in well-designed, well-balanced developments. These mixed-use developments require all stakeholders to collaborate in order for our towns and cities to become 24/7 destinations which in turn enhances natural surveillance and security whilst enhancing valuation resilience in response to future demands.