Housing Giant Gives £10m

Housing giant celebrates making community contributions of more than £10million over the past decade.

Hopkins Homes said the contributions, which are agreed in negotiations with councils as part of the planning process, had been used to fund improvements to school, libraries, play areas and recreational facilities in Suffolk.

Recent contributions include a £509,463 contribution to education facilities as part of the 145-homes site at Abbots Grange, Saxmundham and £53,347 towards a new village hall in Wickham Market through its 44-home Wickham Place development.

Over the past decade, the company has contributed an average of £1 million per year, with more than half of the total sum going towards education (5.33m). A further £2.38m has gone towards play and recreation facilities and just short of £1 million more has gone towards off-site affordable housing. Around £750,000 has gone on "community and social infrastructure" and £600,000 on highways and public transport contributions.

Hopkins Homes development director, Simon Bryan, said the company takes its responsibilities to the community "very seriously".

"When we build new homes not only are we creating a new community, we're usually extending an existing community and we want to improve and support that neighbourhood in every way we can", he added.

Other large scale contributions made in the past two years include the £212,345 provided to improve the sports and playing fields at the former Reydon High School, delivered as part of a 38-home development at Nightingale Place. A further £224,965 was provided for school places at Sebet Wood Primary and King Edward VI Upper school in conjunction with the 73 homes provided at Eastgate Rise, Bury St Edmunds. £124,458 has been provided for extra school places in the Framlingham area as part of Hopkins Homes' Castle Mount development. The developer's 29 home scheme at The Limes in Barrow included a further £91,854 contribution for school facilities as well as £19,685 for educating two to four-year-olds.

 Mr Bryan added: "Much of our community work is unofficial via charitable donations and in-kind support, but the official section 106 contributions are a vital tool to help us understand exactly where the area needs our input and would benefit from additional infrastructure.

"Facilities such as open and recreational space, play areas, roads, landscaping, sewerage and affordable homes are usually incorporated within our developments as a matter of course but other services are supported via a financial contribution."

Hopkins Homes is the largest independent house builder in East Anglia, and one of main suppliers of affordable housing. Developments currently under construction will deliver more than 450 affordable homes to the region.