Kings Hill gets the crown
Kings Hill has been named one of the UK’s most successful new communities in a report published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
‘Placemaking and Value’ examined clarity of vision, quality of architecture and design, layout, commercial and community provision, public and private amenity space, transport, parking issues and effective community engagement.
It stated that ‘placemaking’ has never been more important in creating thriving communities where people genuinely want to live, work and play’ and concluded that Kings Hill residents ‘felt a strong sense of community and attachment to Kings Hill as part of their identity.’
The report added that Kings Hill had a number of advantages over other developments, most notably its location and longevity. It also said that Kings Hill is a good investment as the ‘premiums and growth rates are compelling as it consistently outperforms the local area and across all types of housing. The bias towards large family homes, many of which are high-end executive homes, sets an aspirational tone for the development.’
It cited Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trusts’s willingness to adapt and evolve the masterplan as one of the reasons for the development’s success. Andrew Blevins, Liberty’s managing director, said: “Kings Hill’s development began over two decades ago and in that time the world has changed so, in order to respond to the needs of society today, the economy and planning policies, we have to change with it.
“We take a long term view and quality underpins everything we do. Following consultation with residents we have just revised our masterplan once again and have started work on the phased delivery of a new residential neighbourhood providing much needed homes, including affordable.
“Our legacy is the communities we create and, as the report says, ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. We have shaped a vibrant community at Kings Hill with an established business community providing jobs for local people, including residents, all of whom benefit from central shops - including Waitrose - restaurants, sports, leisure and recreational amenities.”
The report also drew attention to Liberty’s cultural strategy saying that it plays a major role in creating an interaction between residents and the developer. It added that, thanks to Liberty’s experience in the US, a ‘substantial amount’ of public art was put in place before the first residents arrived which now provide landmarks for new residents and visitors.
Kings Hill is a 24-hour live, work, play modern garden village, providing jobs, amenities, homes, schools and other community infrastructure all within walking distance. Amenities include an 18 hole golf course, Waitrose and Asda stores plus other convenience retail, three schools, Sports Park, cricket pitch and two gyms including David Lloyd, acres of woodland and open space and many miles of foot and cycle paths.
The new residential neighbourhood is underway, a new primary school – the third at Kings Hill - opened last year and an extension to the community centre, additional allotments, trim trails and pitches for the Kings Hill Sports Park are in the pipeline. Land will also be provided for a place of worship.
Land is also available for further office and business space requirements.